Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
Note: The is an extract of an address by Anthony Benadie during the DA Mpumalanga’s Human Rights Day celebrations in Klarinet, Emalahleni
We are gathered here today to celebrate that fateful day in Sharpeville 1960, when thousands of people gathered on the local police station and offered themselves up for arrest for not carrying their passbooks.
The rest as we well know, is history: Police opened fire, 69 people were killed, and hundreds were injured in what became known as the Sharpeville massacre.
In 1994, 21 March was officially declared Human Rights Day, giving South Africans the opportunity to commemorate those that lost their lives during the struggle, and to celebrate the advances the country has made in the protection and promotion of human rights.
Today, we gather in solidarity with all South Africans to pay tribute to the great leaders who came before us, who fought for our political freedom and in many cases, gave their lives so that we may enjoy the fruits of our democracy.
We created a constitution that recognises the fundamental rights to life, the freedom of association, of political affiliation, free from discrimination of any kind, and one that guarantees access to water, health care and social security.
And now, 20 years since the dawn of our democracy, we need to asses South Africa’s progress in realising the restoration of citizen dignity and entrenching these fundamentals rights.
Indeed, South Africa is a better place today, than it was under those dark days of apartheid. Much progress has been made in maturing our democracy.
It was after 1994 under the leadership of president Nelson Mandela that the fundamental right of political freedom and association and the right to vote was afforded to all South Africans
It was under his leadership that we saw the establishment of the right of access to education, to health, to water, to sanitation, to safety. These rights are enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Constitution.
But while the supreme law of our land guarantees these rights, it is a sad reality that they have not yet been realised for many South Africans. In fact over the past five years under the leadership of president Jacob Zuma and premier DD Mabuza, these rights have been further diluted for many of our province’s people.
Under the watchful eye of president Zuma’s ANC, we have witnessed an escalation of human rights violations. More South Africans today are subject to their human rights being violated by the provincial government and municipalities in our province.
Just a little way from here is the newly opened Coronation School. While providing access to education, it does so without running water or sanitation, because the education department did not coordinate with the municipality to connect the school with the services network.
Just this morning we went to the first block of RDP houses along the Verena road, where a burst sewer line has been spilling human waste into the community for more than a year now – and the municipality has not done one bit to have it repaired
Just a little farther is the MNS informal settlement, where people have been living in undignified conditions with no municipal services, with only the odd water truck that makes irregular appearances.
In my hand I have a copy of the report by the Human Rights Commission, which stem s from a DA complaint over people’s lack of access to water and sanitation. Over the past year the HRC has investigated this complaint and found that the emala local muni, through their inability and failure to provide clean drinking water has violated the rights of its citizens.
Click here to view the report.
Human rights violations do not just occur in Emalahleni, but is a daily practice by municipalities and provincial government departments across our province.
Click here to view cases reported to the HRC by the DA since 2011, as well as other instances that verge on rights violations.
What is clear is that president Zuma’s ANC has become the oppressor of South Africa’s people. Human rights violations have escalated, with 12 human rights violations being reported to the HRC over the past two years, 11 instances being committed by municipalities, and at least six violations committed over a period of time by the departments of health and education alone.
While corruption under premier Mabuza’s ANC has become an entrenched order of the day, the government of Mpumalanga has lost focus of the non-negotiable mandate of democratic South Africa, to restore people’s dignity and ensure the realisation of their human rights.
Under a DA government, such atrocities would never happen. We are committed to placing the restoration of people’s dignity and their fundamental human rights at the core of a da administration.
Under the DA’s leadership we will create a provincial government, that is not corrupt, and is focussed on ensuring quality service delivery dedicated to restoring the injustices of the past.
The 2014 election presents the people of our province with the opportunity to vote for a better life, for the restoration of their dignity, and the realisation of their fundamental human rights, by electing a DA government.