Public Protector to investigate FS housing problems

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pretoria - Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela will meet with the Free State provincial government authorities in a bid to find solutions to the housing problems within the Masilonyana Local Municipality.

Complaints about low cost housing were in the majority during her stakeholder consultative meeting with community members in Ipelegeng township outside Brandfort on Tuesday.

"My office will work with the provincial government and the municipality [Masilonyana] to sort it out before it gets out of control," the Public Protector said in response to residents' grievances.

Calling upon community members to trust her office with their service delivery complaints, the Public Protector discouraged them from embarking on violent and destructive protests, indicating that such acts often resulted in infrastructure vandalism.

Other issues raised by community members included municipal land sales, the condition of local roads, provision of water, sanitation and allegations of party political discrimination in the awarding of municipal tenders and the filling of vacant positions.

The Public Protector undertook to look into all the complaints registered before reverting to locals in two months.

"We will be coming back in October to give you feedback on your complaints," she said.

Quoting former President Nelson Mandela during his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, the Public Protector said: "We live with the hope that as she battles to remake herself, South Africa will be a microcosm of the new world that is striving to be born.

"Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to the ideals of humanism, which the Nobel Peace Prize encapsulates."

The meeting formed part of a nationwide stakeholder consultative forum launched in July under the theme "The Public Protector Dialogues with the Nation."

Aimed at getting feedback regarding the work of the Public Protector and to foster a common understanding of the institution's mandate and role, the programme focuses on the importance of implementing the Public Protector's remedial action.

This, according to the Office of the Public Protector, is for purposes of ensuring administrative justice by organs of state in respect of service failure and ensuring accountability in the exercise of state power and control over public resources.