Public Protector shares Northern Cape communities’ complaints with Provincial Executive
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday brought to the attention of the Northern Cape Provincial Executive and Legislature complaints she has received from the communities in De Aar and Kimberley during the two events she held in the province.
The Public Protector has been in the province since Monday and met with communities of De Aar in an outreach event on Monday before meeting with interest groups, civil society, academics and other key stakeholders on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, she met with the Provincial Executive and Legislature in Kimberley as part of her promise to the communities that she will ensure that their concerns are directed to the relevant authorities and action is being taken.
Her visit was part of the Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue that incorporates public hearings aimed at getting more information for the systemic investigation on RDP houses she is currently conducting. The public hearing also seeks to gather public inputs on the alleged illegal conversion of panel vans into taxis.
The Public Protector advised the Executives and Legislature that the key complaints she received, related to the plight of people living in informal settlements after many years on the RDP list, their names disappearing on the list, stands allocated to one person and the RDP house allocated to a different person, a database that says a person got a house but they did not receive any and a letter that confirms allocation while a person doesn’t have or the house exist but occupied by someone else.
She also highlighted concerns raised by those whose houses have been taken away by municipalities to settle debts for rates, water and electricity.
The Public Protector summarised the RDP complaints received in the province into four categories namely:
- Planning Procurement of
- RDP houses Allocation of houses
- Post allocation problems
She said there were allegations related to engagement of contracts that are incompetent, build incomplete houses that do not comply with the plan, are structurally faulty and used poor material and houses that fall apart after completion.
The Public Protector also informed the Executive and Legislature about some projects that were allegedly allocated a particular budget for building a certain number of houses yet few were built. She also alluded to complaints raised about challenges with attempts to rectify problems.
She told the provincial leadership that people wanted contractors and inspectors that certified faulty or poorly built houses to pay the cost of rectification instead of government paying twice.
Other issues that emerged included slow pace on rural development a slow-responsive health services where communities cited problems such as ambulances not arriving in time, improper conduct by hospital staff and lack of medicines with health professionals allegedly directing people to use home-made remedies.
The Public Protector told the executive and legislature about alleged discrimination in the awarding of state contracts and employment opportunities, which people alleged that contracts were being awarded on the ground of political affiliation, gender and race. Certain members of the legislature also raised the issue of political discrimination in service delivery in one of the municipalities.
On the question of taxis, the Public Protector advised that she only received one complaint but the taxi industry raised other complaints. Three key complaints related to:
- A car dealership they felt was being blocked by an organ of state
- Application for business permits that were not responded to for years
- An allegation of corruption in the taxi recapitalization programme where billions of rands are said to have been lost.
“We have met with the people and told them we will bring their problems to your attention so that we join hands and see how we can assist them,” she said.
The Provincial Executive through Acting Premier Grizelda Cjiekella conceded there were problems in De Aar and other areas that needed a holistic approach. She specifically indicated that De Aar was poor and had to be given priority in rural development initiatives.
They assured the Public Protector of their support and thanked her for listening to the problems of Northern Cape communities.
The Public Protector dialogue next week proceeds to Polokwane and Thabazimbi in Limpopo.
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