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SAHRC to conduct oversight visit in KZN focused on impact of floods disaster on the right to adequate housing

10 August 2022

Durban — KwaZulu-Natal’s housing crisis involving flood victims has drawn the attention of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which will this coming weekend conduct an oversight visit in the province focusing on the impact of the floods disaster on the right to adequate housing.

The oversight visit will be conducted by SAHRC commissioner Philile Ntuli from August 10 to August 12, 2022.

The SAHRC said that following the floods disaster that affected KZN in April 2022, it had conducted a series of monitoring interventions to assess the floods’ impact on human rights.

“The monitoring has been geared towards ensuring that the response of the KwaZulu-Natal government to the disaster is based on a human rights approach,” the SAHRC said.

To augment the monitoring interventions of the SAHRC, Ntuli will be visiting KZN to focus on the right to housing.

“The main purpose of the visit will be to conduct an impact assessment of the disaster on the right of access to adequate housing of the residents of the KwaZulu-Natal province,” the SAHRC said.

The main activities which will be undertaken during the provincial visit will include, amongst others, conducting visits to selected communities, and inspections of their living conditions, particularly those whose right to housing was affected by the floods.

The SAHRC will also hold engagements with both state and non-state actors in order to develop community-based, participatory approaches to any required solutions.

A stakeholder engagement with civil society organisations will be held on August 12, 2022, between 10am and 1pm at the Department of Public Works, Archie Gumede Conference Centre in Mayville.

Recently, the IFP in KZN protested outside the Durban City Hall over a number of issues, including the housing of flood victims.

In recent weeks, the DA has constantly visited flood victims housed in community halls and complained about the state they were living under. On more than one occasion, the DA said it would write to the SAHRC about the living conditions.

On June 12, then premier Sihle Zikalala said that the floods affected a total of 85 280 people and caused 461 fatalities. There were 23 unidentified bodies from which DNA had not been collected. A total of 87 people were still reported missing, with 6 895 made homeless and 50 injured.

In all, a total of 27 069 households were affected with 8 584 houses totally destroyed and 13 536 partially destroyed.

Meanwhile, next week the SAHRC will hold its KwaZulu-Natal Inquiry into access to water, in Durban.

The aim of the inquiry is to determine whether water service authorities in KwaZulu-Natal have violated residents’ right to access clean drinking water as provided for in national legislation as well as in the Constitution, and if so, what interventions are being implemented by the state to resolve and prevent the recurrence of the violation.

The SAHRC said that in recent years, its provincial office had been inundated with complaints about access to water in various districts in the province, which remained a day-to-day challenge for many across the province.

“Most municipalities’ responses to the complaints are inadequate in that they are unable to provide appropriate and sustainable redress to the communities,” the SAHRC said.

“As such these complaints amount to a violation of the basic human right to sufficient clean water and, given its far-reaching impact on affected communities, there is a need for a strategic intervention to address these challenges.”

Source: Daily News

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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