This was the result of a report released by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in December on the eviction of 17 legitimate businesses there in June last year.

Poisoned Processes

The report, titled “Poisoned Processes”, also covered irregularities in the awarding of new leases in the town to “previously disadvantaged” tenants.

“We definitely had more tourists visiting the town than last year. This may be due to the positive outcome of the Public Protector’s report regarding the tender process of businesses in Pilgrim’s Rest,” said Pilgrim’s Rest Business Forum chairwoman Sherry Goodwin.

While she could not say how many tourists visited the town over the festive season, she said all businesses were busier than usual.

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Tourists asked about the corruption

“It was interesting that tourists were aware of the situation and were asking us about it. Everyone seemed generally concerned over the future of the town,” said Goodwin.

She said it would be in the town’s best interests for everyone to stay positive about the situation.

“It is our hope that the department [of public works] will give good leases of about five years, and that the town may continue to prosper and be a popular tourist destination.”

Pilgrimâ??s Rest offers wealth of political history

Goodwin said future generations should have the opportunity to learn about the gold rush that played a vital part in South Africa’s history.

The town was a living museum and national heritage site and, as such, was managed by the provincial department of public works.

Report recommended starting a new procurement process

Department spokesman Dumisani Malamule said this week that the department had received the Public Protector’s report and was writing a press statement in response.

In her report, Madonsela suggested that the head of the department, Kgopana Mohlasedi, cancel the new shop leases and start a new procurement process that complied with relevant laws and standards of fairness.

It was also recommended that Mohlasedi ensure current business owners were given at least three monthsâ?? notice if they failed in the new bidding process.

Action should be taken against offenders

Madonsela also suggested that both the head of department and MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu take action against any official who allowed wasteful expenditure by failing to comply with the Public Finance Management Act or acting in an otherwise irregular or unauthorised manner.

She instructed Mahlangu to submit an implementation plan to her office within 30 days of the report being issued.

The MEC would have a further 21 days in which to report back to her on progress made.

Author: SAPA