Everyone failed Glebelands hostel - Mkhwebane

2017-06-19 19:36
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane briefs the media in Pretoria. (Lerato Sejake, News24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane briefs the media in Pretoria. (Lerato Sejake, News24)

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Johannesburg - The eThekwini Municipality, its Metro police department, the South African Police Service and the department of social development all failed the Glebelands Hostel residents, says Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

As a result, their conduct was improper and amounted to maladministration, she said.

Mkhwebane's findings follow an investigation into the violent murders which took place at KwaZulu-Natal's Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi.

Mkhwebane said the investigation commenced after president of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, Professor David Mcquoid-Mason, lodged a complaint about the frequent and unabated killings that took place at the hostel during unlawful evictions and displacements of hundreds of hostel residents from rooms which had been allocated to them.

Mcquoid-Mason complained that the murders and unlawful evictions were a violation of the principle of the right to life.

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Remedial action

More than 40 people have reportedly been killed at the hostel since 2015 and residents also often complained about the unhealthy and poorly serviced living conditions in which they were living.

Allegations of police corruption were also previously mentioned.

Briefing the media on findings and recommended remedial action on four reports, including Glebelands in Pretoria, Mkhwebane said the municipality failed to give community members equitable access to municipal services to which they were entitled.

Mkhwebane said: "The eThekwini Municipality failed to provide services to the Glebelands Hostel community in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner as required by section 152(1)(b) of the Constitution and section 4(2)(d) of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act."

She said the failure by the municipality constituted as improper conduct and maladministration.

Mkhwebane said the police neglected the community by failing to prevent, combat and investigate crime. They also failed to maintain public order, protect and secure the residents and their property, she said.

"The SAPS failed to uphold the rights of the Glebelands residents to be free from all forms of violence as enshrined in section 12(1)(c) of the Constitution."

Mkhwebane said the failure of the police amounted to improper conduct and maladministration.

Failures

She said the eThekwini Metro Police also failed to play its role in preventing crime at the hostel and such, its failure also constituted improper conduct and maladministration.

Mkhwebane also found that the department of social development failed to look after the community in that it neglected its responsibility to the victims of the violence at Glebelands Hostel.

Her recommended remedial action included that the municipal manager take appropriate measures to promote a safe and healthy environment at the hostel.

"A database of evicted and displaced people is compiled and that in the event that these people cannot be returned to their allocated rooms, that suitable alternative accommodation is provided.

"Access control is implemented as provided in the Hostel Policy and that the regularisation of residency is implemented as provided by the policy."

The municipal manager should ensure that the community is allowed equitable access to municipal services, including refuse collection and removal; damaged infrastructure like water and sewage pipes be repaired and replaced, as well as ensuring that grass verges are maintained and that hostel lighting both inside and outside is improved, she said.

"The municipal manager should ensure that services to the hostel are provided in a financial and environmentally sustainable manner… The collection of rental is implemented and trading within the hostel premises is controlled as per hostel policy."

Mkhwebane recommended that the provincial police commissioner ensure that police prevent and investigate crime as well as ensure that there is public order in the community.

"Consider setting up a satellite police station within the hostel premises; ensure that [a] sufficient number of police officers are deployed to do static duties inside the hostel when threats of violence are reported."

Police brutality

Mkhwebane said the commissioner should also ensure to report incidences of police brutality and other cases of police misconduct to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

She also said incidences of serious crimes like murder and illegal evictions should be investigated by police outside Umlazi police station.

Mkhwebane said the social development MEC should establish reasons why the department failed to protect the Glebelands Hostel victims and why it did not take action against officials who were responsible for inaction.

She said she would monitor the investigation of the allegations of police torture and killing of Glebelands Hostel residents.  

The other reports that Mkhwebane released included the department of arts and culture vs the South African Roads Association, North West Provincial Government vs Bapo Ba Mogale and the CIEX report.

She said she had managed to finalise 14 investigation reports in the last eight months.

Read more on:    public protector  |  busisiwe mkhwebane  |  johannesburg  |  judiciary  |  service delivery  |  crime

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