Illegal occupants of KZN education building must be given marching orders

Tom Stokes, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Education

The 40-odd KwaZulu-Natal public servants living rent free in a Pietermaritzburg-based building owned by the province’s education department need to face disciplinary action and some form of reorientation programme that will lead them to understand their role as civil servants.

According to a media report, many have their families living with them.  They also do not pay for water and electricity.  Officials are believed to be aware of the transgression yet have failed to act against these illegal residents for a decade.

It is alarming that long-standing irregularities such as this are being exposed through the media rather than being handled timeously by the relevant authorities. It is totally unacceptable that authorities, for the past 10 years, have been allowing people to live rent free with free services in a building owned by the province and serviced by taxpayers’ funds.

Comments made by some of the people squatting in the education department building indicate a complete disregard for the illegality of their actions and an arrogant sense of entitlement.

Action needs to be taken and the first step is for the MEC himself to intervene and ensure that this building is no longer used as a residence by employees.

Too often officials are reluctant to apply the letter of the law in inconvenient situations and merely push the file to the back shelf for someone else to solve the problem later. It is this lack of responsibility and lack of accountability that is dragging service delivery downwards and allowing lawlessness to seep into public administration and become accepted practice.