South Africans should join hands to eradicate maladministration and ensure better service delivery, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Thursday (12/07/2012).
"There is a link between good governance and responsive service delivery,” Madonsela said in Pretoria.
"At the same time we believe that there is also a link between maladministration or bad administration and poor service delivery.” Madonsela was speaking at the launch of her inquiry into problems with RDP houses and the illegal conversion of panel-vans into taxis.
"Both of these systemic investigations focus on what we refer to as maladministration involving service failure,” Madonsela said.
"A systemic investigation is supposed to get to the bottom of things so that we can reduce the number of complaints.”
The process includes public hearings in every province, starting on July 12 and ending August 31.
The theme of the "stakeholder consultative dialogue” was ”joining hands to end maladministration and ensure responsive service delivery”, she said.
"My initial impressions confirm the issues that we have identified,” Madonsela told media after the launch.
"There is consensus on the issue of housing. People are waiting much longer than they should... The quality of many of the houses is problematic and a dimension added today is the cost of fixing the houses.”
Money to pay for repairs was not recouped from contractors who did not do a proper job in building the houses, Madonsela said.
Another issue highlighted during the consultative dialogue was the fact that many people sold their houses and moved back into the "slums”.
"The issue that emerged as an elephant in the room, that we didn’t discuss a lot, was the issue around quality versus equity,” Madonsela said.
"The fact that there is an attempt to ensure that emerging contractors are given an opportunity, but at the same time ensuring that the quality of homes meets the requisite standard...”
Madonsela said the issue of corruption was serious, and her office would look at the role officials, including professionals, played in both investigations.
She said when visiting each province, her team would spend time listening to people and their stories of how they have been effected.
Opening the launch, Madonsela said the issue of RDP houses was something that had been problematic for years.
"RDP houses target the most vulnerable in society,” Madonsela said.
She said her office received numerous complaints about RDP houses. This related to, among other things, waiting periods and irregularities.
She said she had no plans to regulate the motor industry or public transport industry.
"The Public Protector has to investigate allegations or suspicions of maladministration or improper conduct in state affairs.”
One of the complainants in the conversion of panel-vans, Hennie de Beer, said it took him years to get the government to look into the conversion.
"It would cost R100 million to fix all the taxis, and that is not to mention all the lawsuits after accidents caused by having these vehicles on our roads,” De Beer said after the launch.
SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) general secretary Phillip Taaibosh welcomed the investigation by the Public Protector.
"We are in support of what has been highlighted here,” he said.
"Whatever maladministration there is we would like the Public Protector to look into it, because we believe our operators are exposed to these dangers.” - Sapa