Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, has acknowledged that residents of the Vaal south of Johannesburg, have been failed. Makhura says service delivery in the area has collapsed. He says leaders should account for neglecting people who voted them into power.
Delivering a key note address at the Vereeniging City Hall as part of Human Rights Day commemoration, Makhura promised to turn the situation around in this region.
“This year we have come back to Vaal to also face the reality that governance and service delivery is not going the way people of the Vaal would want it to go. It is the Human Rights Day and because we must honour those who sacrificed and suffered, we must also account as those who have been given responsibility to hold public office. We must also account to what is it that we are doing to fix governance in this area and address service delivery problems.”
It is our duty as a nation to strive for inclusive socio-economic development, while ensuring that we combat discriminations such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia, as well as gender-based violence and femicide, which continue to undermine our human rights culture #HumanRightsDay pic.twitter.com/VCihO7684i
— David Makhura (@David_Makhura) March 21, 2021
Makhura says human rights have been violated in many ways in this region.
“The human rights of the people of Vaal have been violated through the sewer spillage that have run to pollute many local areas including sewer running on the streets but also sewer spillage that has polluted the Vaal River,” he says.
Vaal River polluted beyond acceptable standards:
Premier Makhura says money has been allocated to help rebuild this region.
“We are not giving the money to Emfuleni. We are going to spend that money to fix the roads that are a priority for the people of this area. Because the problem with Emfuleni is that if you give Emfuleni the money for the roads, you are not sure if that money will be spend on the roads. If you give them the money and say go and buy the trucks to remove waste you are not sure if that money will go and buy the trucks.”
Sharpeville resident, Isaac Molefe, says he was six years old when 69 people, mostly members of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), were murdered by the apartheid police. He says residents continue to suffer even years into democracy.
“I’m not satisfied. We are complaining about service delivery. They are not satisfactory in general. Sewage blockage and collection of waste,” he adds.
Makhura started Human Rights Day commemoration by laying wreaths at Phelandaba Cemetery in
honour of the victims of the massacre, who were attacked during a protest against pass laws on this day in 1960.
During those days, Black South Africans over the age of 16 had to carry an Identity Document in public, which was known as the dompas (passbook). The system was abolished in 1986.
The programme to commemorate the Sharpville Massacre was delayed when PAC members kept on singing struggle songs disrupting the start of the proceedings. Clad in their black and gold T-shirts, they held their own programme using the same platform that was prepared for the Premier. They claim that they have been sidelined and not included in the programme to honour the struggle heroes.
Earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa virtually delivered a Human Rights Day message, which is in honour of those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the majority of South Africans.
The full address is in the video below: