Mkhwebane visits Masiphumelele to address poor living conditions

Mkhwebane had subpoenaed Mayor Patricia de Lille and Premier Helen Zille to attend the Masiphumelele inspection but they apparently could not make it.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is in Masiphumelele to address complaints regarding the state of the area on Friday 23 June 2017. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The public protector says she'll be following up on complaints about the poor living conditions in Masiphumelele near Fish Hoek.

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has continued her office's national roadshow, inspecting various communities that have laid complaints with her office.

Mkhwebane had subpoenaed Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to attend the Masiphumelele inspection but they apparently could not make it.

Mkhwebane has had to replace her stilettos with flat shoes to comfortably march through the muddy littered pathways of Masiphumelele's Section A and Section Z.

Community leaders and activists showed Mkhwebane the pipes where raw sewage apparently flows past homes.

Mkhwebane says she will urgently deal with the complaints.

She says she will also be addressing the mayor and premier's failure to adhere to the subpoena to attend because it's in contempt of the Public Protector's office.

Mkhwebane says she will initiate contempt proceedings against Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille, adding that The Public Protector says her office has the right to issue a subpoena under special circumstances for the purposes of an investigation.

“Hence the speedy attendance of this matter, it’s based on the fact that people cannot continue living like this. Let’s find a quick solution which will then give them an opportunity as the city to then develop a place where they can move the people. And unfortunately, we did not get that cooperation.”

The premier's office says Zille was overseas on business when they received the communication and that it was not served directly on the subpoenaed person or their designate, which is required by law.

The mayor's office also says no subpoena was directly served on De Lille.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)