Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: THE TIMES
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: THE TIMES

Independent researcher and violence monitor Mary de Haas says that while she hasn’t seen the full report‚ she believes the public protector’s findings that police‚ the eThekwini municipality and the Kwazulu-Natal Department of Social Development had failed the Glebelands community is fair.

De Haas made the comments on Monday after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released her findings on the Glebelands Hostel killings — violence at the hostel has claimed the lives of more than 60 people in the past two years — and the role played by police‚ the eThekwini municipality‚ the provincial department and the eThekwini metro police.

De Haas said that while the findings were fair‚ a forensic investigation into the conditions of the community is necessary as they lie at the heart of the carnage at Glebelands.

Mkhwebane stated that the complainant‚ referred to only as McQuoid-Mason‚ re-stated an earlier request that the public protector conduct a forensic investigation into tenders awarded by the municipality in relation to goods and services for the hostel.

"[The complainants] contended that the abuse of funds allocated for hostel management was perceived to be central to the problems of the hostel‚" the public protector said in the report. She said, however, an investigation into this alleged irregularity in tender awards could become a separate investigation, depending on what information is brought to her attention.

KwaZulu-Natal department of social development spokesman Vukani Mbhele said the department had not seen the report. "Once we receive it‚ we will study it and be able to respond accordingly‚" he said.

The public protector found that the department failed to fulfil its responsibility to the victims of the Glebelands Hostel violence as required by Section 27(1)(c) of the Constitution. The failure of the department constitutes improper conduct‚ the public protector said in her report.

She found that the eThekwini metro police also failed in its role to prevent crime at the hostel, as required in terms of the South African Police Service Act‚ saying this constituted improper conduct in terms of the Constitution and maladministration in terms of the Public Protector Act.

Mkhwebane found that eThekwini municipality failed to promote a safe and healthy environment for the residents as required by the Constitution and as envisioned in its own hostel policy developed in 1998.

She said the municipality "failed to give members of the local community equitable access to the municipal services to which they are entitled as envisaged in Section 4(2)(f) of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act".

eThekwini municipality‚ the Metro Police and the provincial police were not available for comment on Monday night.

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