Public Protector tells Piet Retief community the Constitution affirms the rights of all people

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has assured the community of Piet Retief that her office exists to protect them against the violation of administrative justice by exacting justice for administrative wrongs of the state.

Speaking at her institution’s commemoration of Human Rights Month in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga on Thursday, the Public Protector said the role of her office is to advance human rights more specifically administrative justice and ensure there is accountability in all state affairs. She added that administrative justice is one of the human rights everyone is entitled to.

The Public Protector told a packed hall that as the country commemorated Human Rights month there was a need to remind ourselves what we rejected and embraced when the constitutional democracy was adopted.

“What we rejected was an oppressive inward looking state that systematically trampled in human rights. We sought to replace it in the words of Madiba, with an accountable, transparent and responsive state that puts people first,” she said.

The Public Protector added that her office primarily protects people from violation of this right through maladministration. “The Public Protector Act authorizes my office to help you as citizens exact justice for administrative wrongs of the state,” she said.

Communities of Mkhondo Local Municipality used the opportunity to complain to the Public Protector about service failure in their area. Their complaints included allegations of corruption on the allocation of RDP houses, poor policing, lack of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) support, lack of water and electricity and nepotism. Members of the community alleged that they were excluded from the Municipality’s Integrated Development Plan.

Others complaints related to the issuing of birth certificates and Identity Documents to foreigners at the expense of citizens. The issue of orphans who are not receiving social grants was also raised.

One woman told the Public Protector of her rape ordeal and how her rights were violated and how the alleged perpetrator received “preferential treatment” because of his race and social standing. She alleged that the case was reported to the police who confirmed rape after taking her to hospital. The perpetrator appeared in court was allegedly granted bail without her being informed.

The Public Protector also met with a group of farmdwellers who made numerous allegations of farm atrocities against white farmers in the area. These included evictions, being shot at, with one farmworker having lost eyes and legs, their livestock being killed, denial of access to water and ancestral burial sites, grazing land and failure by the police and government to hold the farmers to account. They alleged to have exhausted all other available remedies and that their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

The community told the Public Protector that it has approached among others the Office of the Premier, Legislature, Land Affairs and Human Rights Commission. They appealed to the Public Protector to help solve their problems.

The Public Protector promised complainants that she will take up their complaints with the municipality, relevant departments and the Premier to ensure that there’s quicker intervention to urgent matters. Other complex matters raised will be investigated.

For more information, contact:

Kgalalelo Masibi
Spokesperson: Public Protector South Africa
(012) 366 7006
079 507 0399
0800 11 20 40

Published Date: 
Thursday, March 27, 2014