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Graskop, Mpumalanga -
Communities must use constitutional structures before resorting to protests, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Wednesday.
She also appealed to public office-bearers to improve their accountability and communication with communities to avert unnecessary protests.
“As a woman, it hurts me every time people take to streets, because this results in people getting hurt and the destruction of people's property and the limited public infrastructure that the country has,” she said.
Madonsela was addressing communities in Matibidi, near Graskop, in Mpumalanga, during an outreach event as part of the Public Protector National Stakeholder Dialogue.
She was told that corruption and fraud in the procurement and allocation of RDP houses was the main problem in the Thaba Chweu municipality.
Community members claimed that the municipality's database showed people as having received houses, when they had not; and that houses were given to councillors' friends.
Long waiting lists and structural defects with houses were other problems.
They accused the municipality of not being transparent, claiming that some people got houses even though their applications were too late.
People also complained about a lack of medicine in local health centres, which had to turn away people with chronic medical conditions; and about the bad state of roads, which prevented children from attending school on rainy days.
Madonsela told the communities that at the end of the process, her office would facilitate an agreed action plan between all relevant role players on the issues raised. - Sapa