8 August 2012

South Africa: Public Protector Calls On People With RDP Problems to Approach Her Office

press release

Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela has on Tuesday called on the residents of Northern Cape and the whole country faced with RDP house problems to approach her office and report their problems.

She was speaking during a Stakeholder Consultative meeting and public hearings on the RDP houses and the alleged illegal conversion of panel vans into taxis at the Provincial Legislature in Kimberley. The hearing was attended by members of the public, civil society, interest groups and various members of the provincial Executive Council.

The hearings form part of the systemic investigation the Public Protector is currently conducting after receiving a flood of complaints on RDP houses in the country.

"People that have not attended the public hearings should also feel free to approach us. We will investigate all allegations and get a solution for the problem," she said. The Public Protector went on to say that the process will also help the government to understand what really went wrong with the RDP housing program and prevent recurrence of the problem.

Northern Cape was the fifth province to be visited by the Public Protector. She has received complaints with allegations of structural defects, use of inferior material, delay in the provision of houses, fraud and corruption in the awarding of RDP houses tenders. Others complained about the building of sub-standards houses using inferior material, water and electricity problems while other alleged that houses were being allocation to spouses of municipal employees.

One woman alleged that they had been appointed to do certain projects and given appointment letters but the projects were later taken away from them in favour of a network of women in construction without notification.Others alleged that some officials were still working after the provincial ANC intervened to have their suspension lifted allowing a forensic investigation that fingered them for wrong doing.

On the taxi front, there was an allegation of collusion levelled against some high ranking state official in regard to the taxi recapitalisation programme with billions of rands said to have been lost. There were also allegations of delay in processing and issuing of licences with people waiting for more than four years. Access to land also emerged as an issue.

"We have heard the people in all areas we have been to and will continue to do so in the remaining provinces. All these complaints will be looked into with the view to possibly including some of them in the final systemic investigation report."

The Public Protector promised the communities that matters that needed urgent attention would be given priority and discussed with the concerned municipalities, MECs and national government to ensure that if there's an action that needs to be taken it can be taken to remedy the situation.

At the event, community members raised complaints about among others corruption in the allocation of RDP houses tenders, building of sub-standard houses using inferior material, water and electricity problems while others alleged that houses were being allocated to spouses of municipal employees.

The Public Protector will conclude her visit in the province by meeting with the provincial executive and legislature on Wednesday. She thereafter proceeds to Polokwane and Thabazimbi in Limpopo next week.

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