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Public servants called to serve and not violate human rights

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on public servants to serve the people of South Africa with love, dignity, respect and not violate their rights as the country celebrates Human Rights Day.

The President was speaking on Tuesday during a Human Rights Day commemoration event in De Aar, Northern Cape.

This year’s commemorations were held under the theme: “Consolidating and Sustaining Human Rights Culture into the Future”.

The history of Human Rights Day is grounded in the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on the 21 of March 1960, where apartheid police killed 69 anti-apartheid protesters.

The President told the people of De Aar that government is aware of the lack of service delivery especially in municipalities and it will correct the issues.

“We know that people who work in municipalities are lazy and are stealing the money set aside for projects. We are aware of it and we say as government we will fix the issue. Those who steal the money, we will make sure that they get arrested.

“Those who are not prepared to work and serve the people, we say they must go. All our people must be well served. I do want everyone who works in government to know that when we don’t do our work we are violating human rights of our people,” the President said.

The President acknowledged that in some municipalities, the provision of basic services is unreliable. He said that there are times when water is not provided or is of poor quality, or where refuse is not collected.

“The failure to provide adequate services consistently is a human rights issue. That is why we are working to improve the functioning of local government, which carries the greatest responsibility for the provision of these services.

“Through changes to legislation and support programmes, we are working to improve the capacity of public representatives and officials and direct more resources towards maintaining and upgrading local infrastructure,” the President said.

Government recently re-introduced what are known as the ‘Green Drop’ and ‘Blue Drop’ reports, which detail the state of water provision in municipalities throughout the country.

On the basis of these reports, the President said they are undertaking interventions to fix the problems.

He added that there are also a number of water infrastructure projects underway to improve the security of supply of water to key areas across the country.

Crime a direct violation of rights

President Ramaphosa has emphasised that the rights to human dignity, freedom and security are among the most important issues that we need to attend to as a nation if we are to sustain our human rights culture into the future.

He said that the high levels of violent crime, including crime against women and children, are a direct and brutal violation of these fundamental rights.

He mentioned that communities have been working with police through Community Policing Forums.

Civil society organisations are also working with government to implement the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. Business is working with law enforcement agencies and state-owned companies to tackle damage to economic infrastructure.

“As we increase the presence and the visibility of police, as we strengthen the National Prosecuting Authority and improve the operation of our courts, we need to mobilise everyone in society as part of a national effort to end violent crime.

“We cannot claim to be a country that respects human rights if we do not do everything in our power and within our resources to ensure that all South Africans have access to land, housing, food, water, health care and education,” the President said.

The President added that there can be no doubt that government has achieved much in securing the rights of all South Africans. However, everyone knows from daily experience that we need to do much more.

“On this Human Rights Day, let us affirm our determination to realise the rights of all the people who live in this country.

“In doing so, we will give effect to the promise of our democratic Constitution, and we will be paying the greatest tribute to the visionary leaders who wrote the first South African bill of rights one hundred years ago,” the President said. –

Source: South African Government News Agency