Rights watchdog: 16 million without basic services

2012-09-13 00:00

ABOUT 16 million people from poor communities across the country remained without basic services 18 years after the dawn of democracy, the deputy chairperson of the SA Human Rights Council (SAHRC) Pregs Govender, said yesterday.

The SAHRC was in KwaHaza near Howick as part of its roadshow to investigate issues around the delivery of services such as water supply and sanitation. “We were in Mpumalanga recently and we learned that over 80% of informal settlement dwellers were without sanitation, which is shocking.

“This just tells us that the poor communities continue to be left behind in service delivery,” said Govender.

“We learned it will cost about R50 billion to deliver these services to the 16 million people … the government said it does have the funds,” she said.

She said the council had brought government officials and municipal officials along on the road show to ensure that these officials heard the problems first hand so they could formulate strategies to address these.

Govender said the SAHRC would be putting forward timelines for government to force it to deliver.

Mahesh Fakir, an official with the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency said the government was working hard to deal with the backlog in the delivery of these services.

The KwaHaza community took advantage of the opportunity and raised concerns about the lack or quality of water and the shortage of toilets.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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