Sol Plaatje Municipality once again came under fire from Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane after it was found that the local authority failed to evict a tenant who was unlawfully occupying an erf.
SOL PLAATJE Municipality in Kimberley once again came under fire from Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane after it was found that the local authority failed to evict a tenant who was unlawfully occupying an erf.
Mkhwebane, in her report, found the municipality to be acting in an improper manner when it failed to take action against an illegal tenant.
“A complaint was lodged at the Northern Cape provincial office of the Public Protector by Daniel Ngozo on May 17, 2019, on behalf of his late aunt, Kedilatile Nkozo. The complainant alleged that she was lawfully allocated an erf in Bosch Street in Galeshewe in Kimberley. Rooms at the back of the property were illegally occupied by Miss Mogotsi and her son, Emmanuel Monnapula Mogotsi. The mother, Miss Mogotsi, moved out of the backrooms, however, her son (Emmanuel) refused to vacate the property,” said Mkhwebane.
“In February 2019 and March 2019 the municipality sent eviction notices to Emmanuel Monnapula Mogotsi, but he ignored the notices and refused to vacate the property. In essence, the complainant alleged failure by the municipality to apply to court for an eviction order against Mogotsi from an erf that had been allocated to her by the municipality in 2015. During the investigation of the matter, it was established that the complainant passed away on August 5, 2021.”
Mkhwebane added that although letters were sent to all parties involved, no responses were received by her office.
“The investigation was conducted in terms of section 182 of the Constitution and sections 6 and 7 of the Public Protector Act. The investigation process included the assessment of the complaint, analysis of information and evidence obtained during the investigation and applicable legal prescripts.
“A notice containing the allegations made by the complainants, as well requesting for a response to the allegations made and documents pertinent to the issue under investigation was issued to the manager of Housing Administration of the municipality, the e-mail dated July 24, 2019. A notice was issued in terms of section 7(9) of the Public Protector Act to Goolam Akharwaray, the municipal manager of the municipality, on January 6, 2022, affording him an opportunity to respond to the evidence obtained during the investigation.
“The municipal manager responded to the section 7(9) notice and his responses are incorporated in the report. Letters were also sent to Dr Zamani Saul, the premier of the Northern Cape, the head of department of Coghsta and the MEC of Coghsta, Bentley Vass, the legal adviser of the municipality including the housing manager of the municipality, affording them the opportunity to respond to the contents of the section 7(9) notice in as far as it affects or impacts them, on January 6, 2022. No responses were received.”
Mkhwebane said the municipality’s failure to assist the complainant had deprived her of enjoying her land.
“Despite eviction notices sent by the municipality to Mr Mogotsi indicating that legal action would be taken should he not comply, the municipality failed to take the matter to court, when Mogotsi refused to comply.
“The municipality’s conduct accordingly constitutes improper conduct as envisaged by section 182(1) of the Constitution and maladministration and undue delay in terms of section 6(4)(a) of the Public Protector Act.
“The municipal manager should take appropriate steps to approach a court for an eviction order against Mogotsi from the erf within 60 working days from the date of the report and to inform the family of the complainant accordingly.
“The municipality should also apologise in writing to the family of the late Kedilatile Mirriam Nkozo for the delay in applying to court for an eviction order.
“Appropriate steps in terms of disciplinary action should be taken against the municipal officials who contributed to the undue delay or failure to assist the complainant.
“The municipal manager should submit an action plan to the Public Protector within 30 working days from the date of this report on the implementation of the remedial action,” Mkhwebane said.