JOHANNESBURG – The Public Protector and the South African Human Rights Commission on Wednesday said they were to combine efforts in a bid to get to the bottom of service delivery complaints that have given rise to recent violent protests in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg.
Alexandra residents have been protesting over poor service delivery since last week.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission Bongani Majola met over the matter on Tuesday and resolved to launch a joint investigation, with the view to finding lasting solutions to residents’ grievances.
“In our experience, communities take to the streets when they are of the view that their cries have fallen on deaf ears, said Mkhwebane. “It is important for people to be aware that Chapter 9 of the Constitution establishes the South African Human Rights Commission and my office essentially for people to vindicate their rights on matters such as public service delivery.”
She said her office will tackle the maladministration aspects of the issues that appear to be troubling residents, including the allocation of resources by respective governments towards the delivery of quality public services in the township.
The SAHRC will focus its end of the investigation on human rights issues such as access to housing, water and sanitation, education, health, that the environment that is not harmful to the health and well being of the people of Alexandra, among other things.
Mkhwebane said the investigation will cut across the different spheres of government, looking into the acts and omissions of national, provincial and local administrations.
“My office has accordingly moved swiftly to open an own-initiative investigation file into the matter. Working closely with the Human Rights Commission, we will be interacting with all the roleplayers in the matter with a view to remedying the problems plaguing Alexandra expeditiously,” said Mkhwebane.
Majola added that the commission believes that the Alexandra problem requires the clarification of the issues involved, the identification and promotion of accountability in all spheres of government, as one of the means of promoting and protecting the rights of the people of Alexandra.
This collaborative effort stems from a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Adv. Majola and Adv. Mkhwebane last year. However, this is not the first joint effort between the two institutions. They have previously teamed up in the matter involving the plight of the residents of the notorious Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi township in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, and in addressing service delivery challenges facing the Masiphumelele informal settlement community in Cape Town, Western Cape.
African News Agency (ANA)