Snap debate on Human Rights Document by Jane Sithole DA MPL, in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, on 17 March 2015 during the 2015/2016 Budget Speech:
Hon. Speaker, Human Rights Day which is commemorated on the 21st of March each year is both a stark reminder of the tragic Sharpeville massacre and a celebration of South Africa’s unique constitution, which gives equal rights to all its citizens.
Human rights are inherent to all human beings, irrespective of our nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, language, or any other status. Human rights also means when government is handing out food parcels and blankets, this should be given to all deserving and qualifying citizens of our beautiful province irrespective of their political affiliation.
It is government’s duty to promote and protect human rights and the fundamental freedom of all citizens, individuals or groups. Government must take positive action to ensure that everyone enjoys their basic human rights. It is every person’s right to choose a political party of their choice without being labelled, called names, insulted or intimidated. That Hon. Speaker is called respecting other people’s human rights.
Hon. Speaker, we can spend the whole day talking about the negative impact of corruption on human rights. Let us be clear. Corruption kills. Money stolen through corrupt activities every year is enough to feed those less fortunate 70 times over. Nearly 40 thousand people in this province go to bed hungry every night, many of them children. Corruption denies them their right to food, and, in some cases, their right to life.
The total cost of projects meant to provide safe drinking water and sanitation across the province are escalated by bribes and theft. Money channelled from the national treasury could have been spent to meet development needs, to lift people out of poverty, to provide children with quality education, to provide families with essential medicine, and to stop the hundreds of preventable deaths and injuries during pregnancy and childbirth that occurs in our health facilities.
As individuals, while we are entitled to our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others.
I thank you
I so move.