Housing woes, poor service dominate dialogue

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PN pub591 INLSA Public Protector Thuli Madonsela speaks on service delivery issues at the Johannesburg City Hall. Picture: Chris Collingridge

VUYO MKIZE

MALADMINISTRATION, corruption, illegal evictions, procurement of RDP houses and lack of service delivery.

These issues were raised by more than 100 residents from Hammans-kraal, Katlehong, Vosloorus, Soweto and Orange Farm on the Joburg leg of the Public Protector’s National Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue yesterday.

Public Protector, advocate Thuli Madonsela, held the public hearing on two systemic investigations her office is undertaking.

These include service delivery problems of RDP housing across the country and regulatory problems when converting panel vans into taxis used for passenger transport.

The protector’s office received 2 290 complaints during the 2011/12 financial year.

Of these 442 related to housing and since then, a further 240 complaints about RDP housing were received.

“These complaints include allegations of people still waiting for RDP houses. Others complain of their houses being illegally sold.

“Some have alleged corruption has robbed them of adequate housing as flawed construction has led to the destruction of the houses,” Madonsela said.

She acknowledged that there was anger among people over the lack of service delivery.

Maladministration was one of the root factors in denying people their right to equality, she said.

“We shouldn’t run government like we are running kitchens,” she said.

“If someone runs to the opposition to get assistance… it’s their right. It’s not a declaration of war.”

Norman Masemola from Vosloorus, said theirs had been an ongoing struggle to get the government to build RDP houses in their area. “We applied in 1996 for houses but since then there’s been nothing.

“We are trying to work with the government and get assistance which is why we are here today to ask for help.

“We found a white man who owned land who was prepared to sell it to the government but we kept being referred to Eden Park and to Tsakane.

“Eventually we were told the land was on dolomite and not good for building houses.

“We don’t have places to live… our grandchildren don’t have homes to live [in].

“Without fighting or anything, we would just appreciate help,” Masemola implored Madonsela.

Several others also shared their stories of their long battle to get RDP houses.

Residents spoke of corrupt councillors who instead of allocating houses to the rightful beneficiaries, would sell them.

In many instances rightful beneficiaries would find their houses were already occupied, they said.

The South African National Taxi Council’s Ralph Jones highlighted problems the taxi industry faced over panel vans, difficulties in getting permits and losses incurred as a result of not being subsidised as an industry by the government.

Madonsela acknowledged that the illegal conversion of panel vans into taxis was a problem in Gauteng.

It is estimated that some 2 353 panel vans had been illegally converted into taxis.

The taxis compliance levels with the new enhanced safety standards of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme did not meet the minimum safety standards.

However, yesterday’s dialogue centred strongly on housing corruption as dozens spoke on the problems in their areas.

“Some cases are wild allegations and some are genuine. The majority of the people have been bringing concrete evidence but we still need to investigate. We will issue a preliminary report [by the end of the month] which will not have any findings but will be about what we heard around the provinces.

“We will then issue a provisional report around November [with] findings on our investigations. But, we are interacting with the Treasury to assist as we have a lot of work to do to finalise the report,” Madonsela said.

Madonsela will be in Evaton today and in Cape Town later this week to conclude her month-long dialogues.


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