Public Protector, Human Rights Commission to intervene in the Alexandra crisis
The Public Protector and the Human Rights Commission (the Commission) are to combine efforts in a bid to get to the bottom of service delivery complaints that have given rise to recent violent protests in Alexandra township, north of Johannesburg.
Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane and her counterpart at the commission, Adv. Bongani Majola, met over the matter on Tuesday, 09 April, 2019 and resolved to launch a joint investigation, with the view of finding long lasting solutions to residents' grievances.
While Adv. Mkhwebane's office will tackle the maladministration aspects of the issues that appear to be troubling residents, including the allocation of resources by respective governments towards the delivery of quality public services in the township, the South African Human Rights Commission will focus its end of the investigation on human rights issues such as access to housing, water and sanitation, education, health, the environment that is not harmful to the health and wellbeing of the people of Alexandra, among other things.
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. It is important for people to be aware that Chapter 9 of the Constitution establishes the South African Human Rights Commission and my office essentially for people to vindicate their rights on matters such as public service delivery," said Adv. Mkhwebane, calling for calm.
"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 be interacting with all the role players in the matter with a view to remedying the problems plaguing Alexandra expeditiously," said Adv. Mkhwebane.
Adv. Majola said: "The South African Human Rights Commission believes that the Alexandra problem requires the clarification of the issues involved, the identification and promotion of accountability in all spheres of government, as one of the means of promoting and protecting the rights of the people of Alexandra.”
This collaborative effort stems from a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Adv. Majola and Adv. Mkhwebane last year. However, this is not the first joint effort between the two institutions. They have previously teamed up in the matter involving the plight of the residents of the notorious Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi township in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and in addressing service delivery challenges facing the Masiphumelele informal settlement community in Cape Town, Western Cape.