The Human Rights Commission (HRC) says it is investigating complaints of human rights violations in all municipalities across North West.
That is in relation to dysfunctional sanitation systems. The HRC says it is also probing complaints of human rights violations in connection with water provision in all the municipalities. Residents in many municipalities in the province have been complaining about sewage spillages and dysfunctional sewage treatment plants, and a lack of basic services.
Sewage spillages are a common sight in many municipalities in the province. This is a challenge that some municipalities grappled with for a number of years. In others, residents are calling for the eradication of pit latrines and the installation of proper sanitation systems such as flushable toilets. One such village is Palamakua in Lehurutshe where the residents say they are in dire need of adequate services.
“My problem is lack of services, water, electricity and roads, there is absolutely nothing,” a resident says.
“It’s my wish that the municipality provides services for the community, water, electricity and roads,” another resident explains.
“It’s painful to live without services but officials render lip services. We need electricity, not promises,” a resident reiterates.
The Human Rights Commission says it is probing issues relating to the non-delivery of services in municipalities.
“We have received quite a lot of complaints as the Human Rights Commission relating to service delivery in particular water and sanitation and obviously not excluding issues of housing and roads. Over the past years we have even initiated our own accord investigations where we have established if some if not all that municipalities in the province we have investigated complaints against them relating to lack of service,” says HRC’s Zama Luthuli.
In cases where reports were issued, the commission laments the apparent reluctance to implement its recommendations.
“For the past years we have in terms of their complaints handling procedures, afforded municipalities opportunities to respond to allegations and challenges faced by communities and we have received a challenge in terms of unresponsiveness by municipalities. As a result, we have reached to the department of CoGTA through the office of the MEC and HOD. We also reached out to the premier’s office to say we have a challenge here, the services are not provided and also that the municipalities are not working with us and complying with our investigations,” Luthuli added.
The provincial Co-operative Governance department has acknowledged these challenges.
“Where there are issues of capacity, the department works with institutions such as municipal infrastructure support agency, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa to assist municipalities with water and infrastructure projects. Recently, there is a task team that has been established in the province to deal with issues of sanitation and water infrastructure in the province,” says North West Cooperative Governance Department’s Dineo Thapelo.
The Commission says where its recommendations were not implemented and it has resorted to the courts to force municipalities to oblige.
VIDEO: HRC investigating complaints of human rights violations in the North West