Don't protect the corrupt – Madonsela
Mpumalanga - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has warned villagers in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga against turning a blind eye on bad governance including corruption, saying this was the reason government service points such as hospitals had little or no equipment.
Addressing residents at Vezubuhle Community Hall on Friday, the Public Protector said South Africa was a rich country with resources that were enough to improve people’s living conditions if well-managed.
“One of you has just complained that there are no scanners at KwaMhlanga Hospital despite the many accidents that happen now and then along Moloto Road and that generally, there are poor services at hospitals,” she said. “If you can work with the Public Protector and other agents of change, we can claw back all of the money that is wasted or stolen from public coffers.
You are the victims of bad governance and so, it does not help you to protect those that are corrupt.”
“It is not that you hate the system or your organ of state or people in it when you report corruption. If you turn a blind eye, it will get worse and before we know it there will be no resources for the much needed basic services.”
Noting that her visit to the village coincided with the Whistleblower Week, she urged residents not to worry about being victimised when reporting suspected acts of corruption as they would be protected by the Protected Disclosures Act, among others.
The Public Protector’s statements followed complaints, which included that people who sustained serious injuries from road accidents occurring along the nearby Moloto Road often lost their lives due to lack of necessary equipment such as scanners at KwaMhlanga Hospital.
Speaking at the meeting, a concerned resident said the lack of alternative modes of transport to “expensive taxis and dangerous buses” worsened the problem. “This is despite the fact that there is a long standing proposed project for a train service here for which a feasibility study was done a long time ago,” he said.
Another member of the community complained that an amount of R80m allegedly reported by the Auditor General to have been unaccounted for by the Thembisile Hani Municipality remained unaccounted for. He also called for a review of Putco’s contract, saying the bus operator’s fleet was often overloaded, posing a danger to commuters.
Other complaints related to a police station-building project that was “taking years to be completed”, victims of road accidents who were yet to be compensated by the Road Accident Fund, matric exam fraud, chieftaincy disputes, inadequate facilities in schools, accessibility of the Public Protector’s office and social housing.
Responding to the complaints, the Public Protector promised to work closely with individual complainants to look into all matters raised and also to engage the relevant organs of state in a quest to find answers to the people’s grievances.
The meeting, which was preceded by an interaction with iNkosi Manala Makinari and his council, formed part of the Public Protector Good Governance Week. The Week seeks to promote good governance in the conduct of state affairs while enhancing accessibility to the Public Protector services.