Matatiele wants PP to speed up investigation

2013-02-01 00:00

NEARLY six months after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela revived the hopes of Matatiele residents with an investigation into the boundary demarcation that sent the town to the Eastern Cape, the locals have yet to receive a progress report.

In an attempt to get answers, the Matatiele/Maluti Mass Action Organising Committee (MAOC) last week petitioned Madonsela, asking for an urgent meeting to be briefed about the investigation.

In the letter, MAOC convenor Mandla Galo said their hopes were revived when investigators commissioned by Madonsela’s office contacted them about the Matatiele demarcation last year.

“[This was] something which was warmly welcomed by the people of Matatiele because of the confidence they have in your office as a Public Protector.

“It is, therefore, against this brief background we are requesting an urgent meeting with you,” Galo wrote in the letter asking for a meeting with Madonsela to be held on February 11.

He told The Witness that officials in Madonsela’s office had on Sunday informed MAOC that Madonsela was still to confirm the proposed date for the meeting.

He said they petitioned Madonsela to speed up the investigation.

“It is of great concern that the Matatiele demarcation saga is still not finalised after so many years since 2005.

“The law-abiding citizens of Matatiele have peacefully engaged the ANC government legally and otherwise as you might recall,” Galo said.

The Witness reported in June last year that the Matatiele investigation was to probe why government failed to release the results of a 2009 referendum — conducted in all 26 wards of the town.

The referendum was to gauge whether people wanted their town to remain in the Eastern Cape or to be returned to KwaZulu-Natal.

MAOC has since 2005 wanted the government to overturn a decision that Matatiele should become part of the Eastern Cape.

The group even approached the Constitutional Court, which ruled that the people of the town needed to be consulted.

A cabinet decision was taken in 2009 that a secret ballot be conducted. This was duly carried out in October that year by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, but the results were never released.

Madonsela’s spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi yesterday said no decision had been made regarding the requested meeting, and the Matatiele matter was still under investigation.

• mayibongwe.maqhina@witness.co.za

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