The Democratic Alliance welcomes the steps taken by the South African Human Rights Commission in Brandfort, Masilonyana Municipality in the Free State Province regarding their failure to provide a clean and regular supply of water to the community.
This follows my complaint to the SAHRC after walking 3,5km in solidarity with the women of the Joe Slovo Informal Settlement in Brandfort to draw water from the waterworks on 22 March. This is a daily chore made necessary by the municipality’s failure to provide the community with clean running water. These residents were forced to complete this walk up to three times a day, in often difficult conditions.
The Marantha Clinic, nearby the Joe Slovo Informal Settlement, was also without a regular supply of water for over four weeks, with nursing staff being unable to wash their hands between treating patients. This severely impedes their ability to provide a safe and clean healthcare service to the residents.
In response to my complaint, the South African Human Rights Commission conducted an Inspection in Loco of the affected areas to confirm the allegations. The Commission made a preliminary assessment and found that there was indeed a prima facie violation of Section 27(1) (b) and Section 24(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
They subsequently sent an allegation letter to the Municipality on May 22nd, to which the Municipality responded on 21st June.
The SAHRC has further committed to conducting a meeting with the Municipal Manager to probe the adequacy of the plans outlined in their response.
Several questions, however, continue to remain regarding the provision of clean water to residents in the Municipality.
I look forward to the further report by the SAHRC into the suitability of these plans, following their meeting with the Municipal Manager.
I will also be submitting Parliamentary Questions to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to get further information on the details of these plans, as well as their implementation.
The DA will continue to fight for the rights of the residents of Brandfort. They should no longer be expected to walk long distances to access their basic constitutional rights.