Public Protector urges women to join hands to stop maladministration from derailing service delivery

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has called upon women of Mpumalanga and the rest of South Africa to take a stand against wrongdoing in government and join hands against maladministration to which she attributed slow progress regarding the eradication of poverty, inequality and unemployment. 
Speaking at her office’s Women’s Month event in Mooiplaas in Mpumalanga on Thursday, the Public Protector said women of 1956 fought for equality, job opportunities and the equal enjoyment of all human rights.
She said that if women and girls want to see faster progress in service delivery and to experience equal opportunities, they needed to engage in active citizenship. She called on them to empower themselves and others on the contents of the Constitution, laws, policies and integrated development plans (IDPs) in order to use such knowledge to exact accountability from local government actors and other organs of state.
The Public Protector provided an overview of key achievements on the issues that women of South Africa particularly those that marched in 1956 have always wanted. She said it was encouraging to see women occupying leadership positions and called on them to act as change agents, give a voice to the disadvantaged and ensure there was accountability.
“It is encouraging to see women occupying leadership roles in our society, this is one of the examples of progress,” she said while referring to women like Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who was recently appointed a chairperson of the African Union Commission and other women occupying various roles.
She said women of today have the Constitution to support their quest for better governance and a better society.
At the event, communities of Albert Luthuli Municipality told Public Protector about their public service delivery problems. These included not receiving RDP houses despite having applied at the beginning of the process. Some allegations were that houses were given to friends and relatives of councillors. Others alleged that their houses were poorly built with some falling or having fallen apart. There were also those that said they received a foundation slab only.
Others complaints related to identity documents and social grants. One woman told the Public Protector that she was born and bred in the country but the local Home Affairs officials confiscated her ID, detained and later deported to Swaziland where she didn’t know anyone.
Several complaints were about duplicate IDs and the plight of children who came to the country illegally with their parents many years ago.
Service delivery complaints included land claims, roads, development support and employment opportunities.
The Public Protector was asked to investigate the sale of government land including a game reserve which was allegedly sold to a foreign company by the municipality. Others alleged that the local councillor had wasted millions allocated for the road between Araburg and Kroomdraai. The Public Protector was also asked to investigate land claims in the area. 
She promised complainants that she will take up their complaints with the municipality and relevant departments to ensure that action plans are immediately developed to address urgent matters expeditiously while she investigates complex issues. 
At the end of the meeting, the Public Protector had a brief meeting with a group of young people from Carolina who briefly outlined the concerns of the residents of Carolina. The concerns included water purification and other allegations. She undertook to visit the area sometime in September 2012.
The Public Protector public hearing next week moves to Gauteng. On Monday the event will be at the Johannesburg City Hall and Mfatsane Hall in Evaton on Tuesday.
Kgalalelo Masibi 
Public Protector South Africa
Tel: (012) 366 7006
Cell: 079 507 0399
0800 11 20 40
Published Date: 
Thursday, August 23, 2012