For the people.....by the people?

2014-11-18 10:12

In terms of section 7(2) of the Constitution, the state is obliged to respect, protect, promote and fulfil rights that are enshrined in the Bill of Rights.   This means that at the very minimum, the state must refrain from interfering with existing rights. 
However, it has the duty to intervene when the rights of people to basic services have been violated and municipalities are crippled by incompetency and corruption.
 It is clear that where access to water, sanitation, electricity and fire and emergency services once existed but is then taken away due to a dispute within or relating to the management of a municipality, there may be a violation of fundamental rights of the inhabitants.
Take the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality whose matter came up before the Constitutional Court where the municipality brazenly sought the right to access it.
In the context of widespread and continuing disruption of basic services to people and communities pertaining to the rendering of the municipal services  that  has led people  to have rioted by burning tyres and blocking roads,  burning municipal structures and destroying infrastructure as well as throwing rocks into non functioning boreholes and destroying non-functioning infrastructure, government has to step in as it did in the case where Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality failed to discharge its duties.
After all municipalities are the face of government to the communities they are supposed to serve.  If they fail in their obligation to provide services to the people, and if exceptional circumstances warrant it, the Constitution demands that the Provincial Executive may step in to dissolve the Municipal Council and appoint an administrator. This is what happened in the case of that municipality when the provincial government fired all councilors and place the municipality under administration. This is great stuff.
Government needs to get tougher in regard to other municipalities and government departments that fail, the people they are obliged to serve, due to a variety of factors and reasons.
The Constitutional Court had rightly denied the municipality the right to access  to it  because court actions take a great deal of time and in the interim who really suffers? The people.
Well done to the government. Now how about acting resolutely in areas of corruption and fraud in the same way as it did in the case of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality which  failed to discharge its duties.

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