De Aar residents downbeat ahead of Human Rights Day

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Residents of De Aar in the Northern Cape say they have nothing to commemorate on Human Rights Day as they are still subjected to human rights violations. They lament poor health care services,  the ever escalating numbers of statistics of unemployment among others.

Residents shared their sentiments on the eve of Human Rights commemoration, which will be led by President Cyril Ramaphosa at De Aar West stadium today. Thabiso Radebe filed this report…

Residents in some parts of De Aar have been complaining about the dysfunctionality of SAPS’ 10111 number and slow response rate of emergency services, which includes ambulances.

In February, a local teenager assisted a pregnant woman to give birth after an ambulance allegedly failed to arrive on time. They also complain about lack of proper housing and unattended incident of Gender-Based Violence.

“They must get jobs opportunities so (that) life (can) go on, that is how it must be,” says one of the residents.

“Almost everything, job opportunities, issue about drugs, gender-based (violence) … there is a lot,” says another resident.

Resident’s challenges are compounded by poor water supply and lack of housing. One of them says she is sceptical about the president’s address and doubts it will change their lives.

“We sit without water for three days up to a week, and even though you apply, you try to put a CV in, they will never hire you. It’s about family and who you know. The housing … it’s worse about housing. It’s very worse. I am still staying at my parent’s house.”

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission in the Northern Cape admits that several communities have challenges of accessing basic services.

The commission’s acting provincial manager, Anthony Wyngaard has acknowledge that access to basic services is a problem.

“So, we are engaging with the municipalities, water and sanitation and the Department of Human Settlement to see whether we can bring interim relieve to communities.”

On the issue of ambulances and reports of dysfunctional SAPS 1011, Wyngaard says there is a need to improve services by employing enough and well-trained staff members.

He says police members in the province need to be resourced.

“We don’t have sufficient ambulances; we don’t have sufficient trained personnel to man those ambulances; we don’t have a situation where we have double shifts for people to work on those shifts to assist people. People are frustrated. Ambulances are used as taxis. It can’t be. It’s really necessary. We need to improve level of service; we need to attract suitable qualified people who can man these ambulances and services,” says Wyngaard.

This year’s Human Rights Day theme is Consolidating and Sustaining Human Rights Culture into the Future.

The main event that will be addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa will take place at De Aar West Stadium.

South Africa celebrates Human Rights Day on Tuesday: