SAHRC: Depts to address complaints speedily

2013-06-14 07:55
SAHRC (Picture: Sapa)

SAHRC (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Government departments have undertaken to ensure complaints about service delivery, particularly of water and sanitation, are speedily addressed, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Thursday.

The SAHRC said it met departments on Thursday amid a breakdown in service delivery in several parts of the country and a perceived lack of government accountability.

Spokesperson Isaac Mangena said many departments had already provided policy responses to systemic challenges and practical answers to complaints raised during the SAHRC's national hearing on water and sanitation in March.

However, some provincial departments and municipalities had shown a lack of urgency in responding to SAHRC requests for plans and reports, and it had found a lack of inter-governmental co-operation, he said.

On Thursday, departments agreed with the findings of an SAHRC report emanating from its national hearing in 2012.

It found that the poorest of the poor could not access water, that water quality was poor, there was a lack of sanitation services in informal settlements, and poor maintenance of existing facilities.

Funding model

The SAHRC noted in the report that a comprehensive, inter-governmental collaborative approach was needed to resolve the water and sanitation crisis in schools and communities.

"The commission recommended a Cabinet-level task team to ensure the necessary collaboration, especially with regard to funding and technical support in poor municipalities," said Mangena.

It also found that a funding model was needed which allowed municipalities to provide water and sanitation services.

He said the department of performance monitoring and evaluation in the presidency had undertaken to provide technical and financial support to municipalities.

"The panel will use government's submissions in finalising its report to Parliament in July this year," he said.

Mangena said there were ongoing SAHRC investigations into a number of water and sanitation complaints in provinces across the country, and it was treating these with the necessary urgency.

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