Public Protector, Human Rights Commission join forces to investigate Alex protests

2019-04-10 17:31
Leaders addressing residents of Alexandra in a public meeting. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

Leaders addressing residents of Alexandra in a public meeting. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

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The Public Protector and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) announced they will combine efforts in a bid to get to the bottom of service delivery complaints that have resulted in violent protests in Alexandra township, north of Johannesburg.

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane and SAHRC Advocate Bongani Majola met to discuss the matter on Tuesday. They resolved to launch a joint investigation with the view to find long lasting solutions to residents' grievances.

In a joint statement, Mkhwebane's office said she will tackle the maladministration aspects of the issues troubling residents, including the quality of public services rendered in the township.

The SAHRC will focus on human rights issues, such as access to housing, water and sanitation, education, health, and the environment.

The investigation will cut across the different spheres of government, looking into the acts and omissions of national, provincial and local administrations.

"In our experience, communities take to the streets when they are of the view that their cries have fallen on deaf ears," Mkhwebane said.

She added that it's important for people to be aware that Chapter 9 institutions, such as the SAHRC and the Public Protector's office, exist so that people can exercise their rights, demanding adequate public services.

READ: City of Joburg probes Alexandra Renewal Project

"My office has accordingly moved swiftly to open an own-initiative investigation file into the matter. Working closely with the Human Rights Commission, we will interact with all the role players in the matter with a view to remedying the problems plaguing Alexandra expeditiously," said Mkhwebane.

Majola said the SAHRC is of the view that all spheres of government need to be held accountable and that the people of Alexandra's rights need to be protected.

This collaborative effort stems from a Memorandum Of Understanding ( MOU) signed by Majola and Mkhwebane last year.

It's however not the first time the two institutions are joining forces. The Public Protector's office and the SAHRC previously teamed up to find solutions for residents of the notorious Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi township in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, as well as service delivery challenges facing the Masiphumelele informal settlement community in Cape Town.

Read more on:    public protector  |  sahrc  |  bongani majola  |  busisiwe mkhwebane  |  johannesburg  |  service delivery  |  protests

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