Mkhonto is pleased with the Public Protector’s response to the allegations of funds being misused at Helen Joseph Women’s Hostel

By Jonk wa Mashamba

ActionSA PR councillor Shadrack Mkhonto is happy that the public protector has responded his complainant regarding allegations of misuse of funds at Helen Joseph Women’s hostel in Alex.

On November 23rd, he said that he had sent the letter to the public prosecutor, and a few weeks later, he was informed that the letter had been received.

He said that since 2023, the Helen Joseph Hostel petitions committee has been waiting for the Human Settlements department to provide them with a complete report on the hostel’s refurbishment.

According to Mkhonto, the report was presented to the COJ petitions committee in early 2023.

He stated that the committee had the responsibility of approving the report before it could be sent to the council.

He alleges that they received a report that R17.5 million was spent on refurbishing the hostel.

“The committee rejected the report and we demanded an oversight to go to the hostel to inspect the work done there. In July 2023, we went to the hostel as the COJ Petitions Committee. However, the officials did not participate in the oversight. In September, we went again as the committee for an oversight, but still, officials did not come to meet with us.

“We were told that most of them were sick. What worried us was that the hostel still looked the same, with sewer drains running all over the area.

“I then took it upon myself to write a complaint letter to the public protector and requested them to investigate how the said R17,5 million was spent in the hostel.

“On January 23rd this year, I received a letter from the public protector saying that they have reviewed the matter. They confirmed that in terms of section 182(1)(a) of the constitution of the republic of South Africa Act .1997, the public protector had the power to investigate the conduct in state affairs or in the public administrations that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in impropriety or prejudice .

“They said after carefully consideration of all relevant factors and having regard to provisions of section 6(4)(6)(ii) of the Public protector act of 1994 , the office believes that the matter can be dealt with more effectively by the office of Head of Department of Human settlements in Gauteng legislature,” said Mkhonto.

He said that the office of the public protector has referred the matter to the Human Settlements in the Gauteng lagislature for further investigations.

“The public protector instructed the office that they need to report to the complainant within 30 days and also give report back to the office of the public protector about the findings .

“However, it has been 30 days since I received the response from the public protector, but I have not received any investigation results from the office of Ms. Phindile Mbanjwa, who is the Departmental Head of Human Settlements in Gauteng.”

The Alex Mayor, as Mkhonto is affectionately called, however, has heard that there have been some improvements in the hostel to repair some areas.

“I welcome these improvements, but the question still remains: where does the human settlement get the money to repair the hostel?

“And why have we not yet been provided with the full report on how the 17,5 million rands were spent at the hostel?

“I then informed the officials of Region E of Human Settlements that next month when we sit for petitions, we need a full report that includes financial records. Reports on the current work and where the money is coming from, as well as project reports from the contractors, are necessary. from.”

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