Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane update: Reports from 11 investigation

19 Jun 2017

There is also the thorny issue of the dilemma of farm dwellers who live in terror at the hands of oppressive farmers. This came up sharply in the Mpumalanga areas, among other provinces.

Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane : June 19 2017 Update

I have now been in office for a full eight months. Contrary to popular belief, it has been a busy period during which I laid the foundation for solid relations with stakeholders while also getting down to investigation work. While on the road, as part of the nationwide stakeholder engagement that took place between February and May, I also managed to finalise and issue up to 11 investigation reports.

Some of these reports form part of the 10 787 out of 16 397 service and conduct failure matters that we have finalised during the year leading up to March 2017.

On service failure matters, I am certain the reports that we released will make a significant difference in the lives of the members of the public affected while ensuring that gaps identified in the system, which certainly gave rise to the problems as uncovered, are addressed to avoid future recurrences.

Regarding conduct failure, which is essentially matters of governance, it is my hope that those that have been caught on the wrong side of the law, policies, regulations and other legal standards will be dealt with as per my remedial action to send a strong message that wrongdoing will not be tolerated.

More importantly, I trust that our modest contribution in this regard will bring us a step closer to playing our part in the mandate we share with fellow Chapter 9 institutions to strengthen and support constitutional democracy. The outcomes of three of the 11 reports I am referring to were already communicated to the public during my last press conference when I marked a 100 days in office. They follow thorough investigations involving the sufferings of regular persons and improper conduct concerning Members of the Executive.

Today, I am releasing a further four, taking the total number of reports issued in the last eight months to 15. I must add that all of these reports result from the investigations that were pending at the time of my assumption of duty. In the circumstances, it was my duty as the incumbent Public Protector to pick up where my predecessor Adv. Madonsela left off and finalise those matters to ensure good governance in all state affairs.

Before I reveal my findings on the four new reports, let me say that the stakeholder engagement blitz that I have just concluded last month was worth every cent of the R1.5 million budgeted and spent on it. You would know that I visited 18 towns across the country between February and May 2017. During the tour, I picked up more than 1000 service delivery and conduct failure complaints. These included saddening stories from members of the public in areas such as Ratanda, Thohoyandou, Ermelo, Thaba Nchu, Madibogo, Ngilanyoni, Masiphumelele, Mqanduli and Ritchie.

Among the cases such were one on the plight of the community of Masiphumele in the City of Cape Town, where people live in squalor, right on the banks of a stinking drainage canal that not only poses a health hazard to residents but danger too as children playing nearby could fall and drown in the drainage. That community also finds itself having to live with the indignity of a black of free-standing, individual toilets on the one side of their settlement. Some of these facilities are not working. This case is among several across that we have identified for prioritisation in line with my vision of making an impactful contribution in the lives of the people at the grassroots.

Others include the plight of communities where traditional authorities and elected local government authorities are in disagreement over who has the power to allocate land for development purposes. We picked this up in the Free State and the North West.

There is also the thorny issue of the dilemma of farm dwellers who live in terror at the hands of oppressive farmers. This came up sharply in the Mpumalanga areas, among other provinces. Let me turn now to eight of the 11 reports that I have released over the past eight months, copies of which are already on the website. I reported on the other three during my last media briefing on the occasion of my 100 days in office.

Here follows first paragraphs from the concerned matters:

Transnet/South African Airways

Transnet/South African Airways I investigated allegations of maladministration by Transnet relating to the bonus payments on the pension benefits accrued to the complainant in the matter, Mr DA Burnett, for the full period of his pensionable service with the South African Airways. Mr Burnett was employed as a pilot at the SAA until July 2000.

I found that the allegation that Transnet failed to consult Mr Burnett on the impact of the implementation of the SAA Pilots’ regulating Agreement, 1997 (prior to the anticipated Rule change of TSDBF) on his membership of the TSDBF and resultant pension entitlements is substantiated.

Compensation Fund

I investigated allegations of undue delay and maladministration by the Compensation Fund with regard to the processing and payment of compensation benefits to the employees of Exempted Employers. This followed complaints from five former employees of the South African Police Services, who alleged that the Fund was unable to print awards for Exempted Employers…

I found that allegations that the Fund unduly delayed to process and pay the complaints compensation benefits were substantiated. She found that due to the deficiencies in the Umehluko system, the Compensation Fund has been unable to print awards for Exempted Employers since August 2014…

Eastern Cape Department of Social Development

I investigated allegations of delay by the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development in paying a certain Ms Zanele Malanda’s pension benefits along with interest thereon and failure to pay out her leave gratuity upon her exiting the development’s employ.

I found that the department unduly delayed the payment of the Ms Malanda’s pension benefits held with the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and was therefore liable for the payment of interest. I found that the department delayed in authorising the necessary…

Tshwane South College (Minister taking it on judicial review)

I investigated allegations of improper conduct involving maladministration, abuse of power by the Principal of Tshwane South College (TSC), tender irregularities, improper appointment of consultants. I also investigated allegations of failure by the erstwhile MEC for Education in Gauteng, Hon. Angie Motshekga, and Acting Head of Department Mr. L Davids, to provide the outcome of the Gauteng Shared Services Centre (GSSC) Forensic Report on TSC. I further investigated alleged failure by former MEC Barbara Creecy to implement the recommendations of the GSSC Forensic Report…

I made the following findings: The allegation that former MEC, Hon. Motshekga did not provide the complainants with a copy of the GSSC Forensic Report, communicate to them the outcome or furnish them with the reasons thereof was substantiated…

Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality

I investigated allegations of maladministration, corruption, nepotism, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and purging of staff by the former Municipal Manager of Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality in the North West, Mr. Mokgele Mojaki. The complainants in the matter are former employees of the municipality…

I made the following findings: The allegation that the appointment of Mr Mojaki as Municipal Manager was irregular was not substantiated…

Council for Geoscience

I investigated allegations of improper conduct and prejudice suffered in relation to nonpayment of Insearch Recruitment Projects CC and the early termination of the contract awarded in that regard by the Council for Geoscience. The complaint was lodged by Ms Vionne Tembo of Insearch Recruitment Projects CC. I found that the allegation that Geoscience unduly failed to pay the complainant’s company’s invoices for service rendered is not substantiated…

Limpopo MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phokwana (parties taking it on judicial review)

I investigated allegations of abuse of office and violation of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act by the Member of the Executive Council of the Limpopo Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Hon. Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana, MPL. Fellow MPL, Hon. Joseph Buthane alleged that MEC Mokaba-Phukwana irregularly awarded a contract for forensic investigation services to MPA Investigators, who were in actual fact debt collectors and not forensic investigators…

I found that the allegation that MEC Mokaba-Phukwana improperly awarded a contract to MPA Investigation Team to conduct forensic investigation without proper legal authority was substantiated. The MEC did not have legal authority to award a contract…

North West Department for Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development / MLB Construction

I investigated allegations of allegations of maladministration and undue delay by the North West Department for Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development in effecting payment for work done by Mr Lesley Molelowatladi and Ms Lumaka M’Belle. I found that the department failed to pay the complainant an amount of R612 355.55 for materials purchased. I further found that the Department’s conduct to deduct an amount of R43 460.00 from the complainant’s final account without any form of consent or authority to pay its labourers amounted to maladministration and improper conduct…

I now turn to the main reports for today

Department of Arts and Culture v South African Roadies Association

I investigated alleged failure or undue delay by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) to implement a Settlement Agreement. The complaint was lodged with the Public Protector by South African Roadies Association (SARA) following the lack of implementation by DAC of the Settlement Agreement signed on 01 April 2014. The Complainant is SARA duly represented by its president, Mr Freddie Nyathela…

The allegation that the Department improperly failed or unduly delayed to implement the settlement agreement is substantiated…

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government/ SAPS/ Glebelands

My office intervened in the carnage that has been taking place at Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi outside Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. The aim was to ensure accountability by relevant state organs for their roles in redressing the situation at the hostel. The intervention followed a complaint lodged by Professor Mcquoid-Mason, the President of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association in which he complained about frequent and unabated killings that were taking place at the Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi, Durban and the unlawful eviction and displacement of hundreds of hostel residents from rooms that had been allocated to them…

The Ethekwini Municipality failed to promote a safe and healthy environment within the Glebelands Hostel as required by section 152(1)(d) of the Constitution and envisioned in its own Hostel Policy approved in 1998…

North West Provincial Government / Bapo Ba Mogale

I investigated allegations of improper prejudice suffered by the Bapo Ba Mogale Community as a result of maladministration by the former Bapo Ba Mogale Administration and the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs…

The complaint was lodged on 26 March 2012 by Mr Freddy Mogale and Ms Itumeleng Moerane, who are Members of the Royal Six, and Mr A Mafatane, who is a member of the community. In the main, the complainants alleged that the former Bapo Ba Mogale Administration and the then North West Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs improperly caused Bapo Ba Mogale Community to suffer prejudice as a result of maladministration in the management of Bapo Ba Mogale D-Account.

I have made the following findings: The allegation that the HOD for the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs in North West and Bapo Administration failed in the management of Bapo Ba Mogale is substantiated…

CIEX

I investigated allegations that CIEX Ltd, a covert UK based asset recovery agency headed by Mr Michael Oatley was contracted by the South African Government to assist in investigating and recovering misappropriated public funds and assets allegedly committed during the apartheid regime. The Complainant, Adv. Paul Hoffmann, alleged that a memorandum of agreement was signed by Mr Billy Masetlha on behalf of Government of the Republic of South Africa and Mr Michael Oatley on behalf of CIEX on 06 October 1997 allowing CIEX to investigate and recover public funds on behalf of Government. He also alleged that what is of concern is part of the CIEX report that deals with the “lifeboat’’ allegedly afforded by way of an illegal gift, by the South African Reserve Bank (herein called the SARB) to Bankorp Limited, now ABSA Bank, during the apartheid regime…

The allegation whether the South African Government improperly failed to implement the CIEX report, dealing with alleged stolen state funds, after commissioning and duly paying for same is substantiated…

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