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Mafube at the SA Human Rights Commission

Following a protracted investigation into the failures of a number of Free State municipalities to provide services to their communities as they are obliged to in terms of the Constitution and in utter disregard for the rights of residents. Mafube Business Forum (MBF), have always been of the view that Mafube Local Municipality (MLM) is a special case that requires intervention, and approached the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), already a number of years ago to initiate an investigation into the dire state of affairs at MLM, where “fried chicken and German luxury cars” is a greater priority than service delivery. Complaint number FS 2021/0361 was assigned to Mafube.

An inquiry was held by the Commission on the 28th March 2024 to which the Acting Municipal Manager, Advocate Mothusi Lepheana was invited to account, and make a submission on behalf of MLM. The proceedings were filmed and a full video recording is available on the link below*.

Some of the highlights (or rather lowlights!) of Lepheana’s testimony are:

  • Lepheana arrived without a submission as he was instructed to, and made feeble excuses, mostly blaming his office staff and “spam” e-mails;

  • the Commissioner, Dr. Henk Boshoff was scathing in this regard, especially because Lepheana was previously in the employ of the SAHRC as the Free State head, and should be familiar with the procedures of the commission;

  • Dr. Boshoff was visibly shocked at MLM’s Blue- and Green Drop ratings – the water quality at MLM is the worst of all municipalities – 100% critical;

  • Lepheana denies responsibility for the sewer spillages – alleging that “Civil Society” are the ones who sabotage the system. According to Lepheana – “…I can show you how they do it. And then they take pictures and  show it to you..”

  • Lepheana informed the Commission that One Billion Rand has been approved for upgrading the water infrastructure of Mafube, but could not provide any more details;

  • Lepheana promised that all vacant senior positions within the administration at MLM, would be filled by qualified persons, no later than 29th April this year; and

  • Lepheana undertook to provide a comprehensive submission to the Commission.

MBF received a letter from the Commission last week, concluding the following as it relates to MLM:

  • During its investigations, the Commission sent an allegation letter to MLM and conducted investigations relating to MBF’s complaints and found that the violations to be indeed ongoing;

  • MLM was not responsive to requests for information from the Commission;

  • MLM was not cooperative, even after several attempt by the Commission to get MLM to respond to requests for meetings and correspondence, in order to address the complaints. MLM remained non-responsive; and

  • during his in-person appearance before the Commission, the evidence produced by Lepheana, depicted a clear view of the human rights violations perpetuated by MLM.

It remains doubtful whether Lepheana submitted any further information to the Commission as pledged under oath. MBF is preparing a further submission to the SAHRC.

Photo: Henk Boshoff, SAHRC and Adv. Mothusi Lepheana, MLM,

MBF invite residents, business owners and ratepayers to visit our offices at 18A Kerk Street, Frankfort on Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays 08h30 to 12h00. Call or send a WhatsApp message to Marina at 079 145 4295. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

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