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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

SAHRC, CRL kick off two-day local government conference

31 August 2022

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) are hosting a two-day National Conference on Local Governance.

Government ministers, municipalities, Chapter 9 institutions, civil society, community members, and other stakeholders are participating in the conference, which began on Wednesday morning.

Delivering his opening remarks, the chairperson of the SAHRC, Bongani Majola said service delivery complaints ranked second after inequality complaints received.

A total of 5 464 complaints were received by the Commission in the last financial year alone, with equality complaints as the highest rights violation at 771 registered complaints, followed by complaints related to healthcare, food, water, and social security at 704.

“We thought that after five years of being in the commission and monitoring what is happening in this space of local government and getting the impression that things are not getting better but that they are actually deteriorating, we thought that there is a need for South Africans to come together to reflect and share opinions and idea about how can we fix local government,” said Majola.  

He says that despite the progress that has been made in improving access since the dawn of democracy, systemic challenges at local government level have led to stagnation in the provinces as far as the services are concerned.

Majola added: “According to Statistics South Africa the poorest province in the country is the EC where 900 000 people, living mostly in rural areas, live in poverty. Similarly, an estimated 840 000 people live in poverty in KwaZulu-Natal and 680 000 people live in poverty in Limpopo. Not only are these provinces the poorest three in the country, the measures of multi-dimensional and pervasive poverty a high in those provinces. Local government is supposed to play a central role in helping to uplift these communities from poverty, and the delivery of services is key in those efforts."

The SAHRC chairperson says the conference would focus on the role of local government as an enabler of service delivery and ensure that the challenges are clearly defined and addressed, adding that the three spheres (national, provincial, and local) of government need to work in sync to ensure the poorest communities do not continue to suffer.

Source: Jacaranda FM

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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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