ANC’s open loos ‘violation of rights’

2011-05-17 00:00

THE 1 600 toilets that have stood unenclosed for as long as eight years in Rammulotsi near Viljoenskroon in the Free State represent a violation of human rights, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) said yesterday.

Gareth van Onselen, election communication head of the Democratic Alliance, brought a complaint against the Moqhaka Municipality in this connection last year.

HRC deputy chair Pregs Govender announced the commission’s findings at a media conference in Johannesburg.

According to the report, the Moqhaka municipality neglected to plan and implement the project properly, as a result of which residents were forced to use the exposed toilets.

The report says the municipality’s “explanation that it lacked adequate resources was not justified and therefore unacceptable”.

Residents’ “rights of human dignity, privacy and a clean environment” were violated.

The HRC found that the national and provincial governments did not adequately monitor the municipality’s work or intervene timeously.

The commission recommended that the toilets be fenced as a matter of urgency and that Moqhaka municipality should submit a progress report to the commission at least every six months.

Furthermore, the national and provincial government must submit a report to the HRC within a month in which it explains the steps it is taking.

Govender said that if the municipality fails to respond, the commission will ensure that Parliament enforces the findings.

Referring to the availability of resources, James Motha, the HRC’s senior economic researcher in the case, said the municipality did not spend its full budget.

Beeld tried to reach Sibongile Besani, the ANC’s Free State secretary, for comment, but his cellphone was off. Besani suddenly admitted last week that the ANC was aware of the toilet problem in Viljoenskroon.

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