After waiting for more than 10 years, an 80-year-old woman’s dreams of owning her own house finally comes true. This is after the woman submitted a petition to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Standing Committee on Petitions requesting the Committee to intervene in ensuring that the Gauteng Department of Cogta and Human Settlements grants her an RDP house which was approved in 2010, but never received.

She has been given three (3) options of RDP developments for her to choose from and be allocated a home from the 3 developments. The committee will follow up with the Gauteng Department of Cogta and Human Settlements and resolve the petition once the Petitioner has officially moved into her new allocated home.
This is one of the petitions resolved by the Standing Committee during its two-day public hearings held on 29 and 30 March where the Committee addressed service delivery concerns raised by various communities through petitions.

The Vlakfontein community in Lenasia have a commitment from the Gauteng Department of Health to refurbish the interim structure of containers used as a clinic, while working on the terms of reference and all other processes to build a Community Health Centre, accommodative of the entire Vlakfontein community starting in the new financial year (1 April 2021). The matter has been referred to the Portfolio Committee of Health in GPL, for oversight responsibility until a building handover to the community is realised.

On day two (2) of the hearing, the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport was given 2 months by the Petitions Committee to resolve issues from Petitioners in the taxi industry emanating from the Taxi Enquiry Report which looked into some of the reported incidents of 2 taxi violence and how best the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport can intervene in an effort to minimise the conflicts within the industry. The matter is ongoing, the department has committed to follow through on all matters of concern such as the efficient functioning of the regulatory entities, both at the provincial and municipal level in the Province.

While there is success in resolving some of the petitions, the Committee has noted the unresponsiveness and delayed submission of reports by some departmental officials and municipalities when they are invited to appear in front of the committee and Petitioners to resolve petitions under their competency. Amongst other dissatisfactory actions are absence without a formal apology. Those that didn’t appear as per the committee’s invite have been subpoenaed to appear in front of the committee on a scheduled date determined by the Committee in order to resolve petitions that were lined up to be heard during the two-day hearings. The Committee has also scheduled a follow-up meeting with the relevant departments on 7 April 2021, where they will present formal reports on their commitment and progress to the committee on some outstanding matters from the different petitions during the two-day public hearings.

The two-day hearings have demonstrated the importance of the petition system as a critical tool residents of Gauteng can use to have their voices heard in a more meaningful way that results in necessary interventions to their challenges related to the executive and legislative authority of the Province. The GPL thus encourage citizens to practise their right to participate without fear or favour. All members in the GPL are public representatives, elected by citizens in the general elections. Therefore, where there is no service delivery, a petition submission is one of the many ways to promote public involvement in holding government accountable without resorting to destructive protests.

Issues by the GPL’S Communications Unit on behalf of the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Petitions at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Hon. Ezra Letsoalo. For more information or interview queries with the Chairperson, please contact Ms Thabisile Nzuke on 082 619 4411 or TNzuke@gpl.gov.za