FOCUS - Government Failures Undermine Human Rights and Dignity

FOCUS - Government Failures Undermine Human Rights and Dignity

FOCUS UPM Newsletter - August 2015
01. Aug. 2016
Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southern Africa
Place of Publication: Grahamstown, South Africa
Date of Publication: August 2016
Number of Pages: 24
Language of Publication: English

In this edition of our newsletter we report on the decaying state of governance in our Makana Municipality in Grahamstown.  We are currently in a period of global regression in which rights are being disrespected by governments. In most of the global South, right wing pro-capitalists are using nationalism to oppose basic human rights. 

This is true of South Africa which still has rights written into law but these laws are often ignored. One famous case is that of Mrs Grootboom. She won a case against the state forcing the state to take positive action in the case of the poor and homeless, but she still died in her shack. This shows the limitations of human rights discourse and reminds us that it remains necessary to organize and mobilize outside of liberal institutions.  We also have the right to strike, freedom of assembly and the right to life yet striking miners were massacred at Marikana. It is clear that it takes political work to enforce rights. 

There are many Grootbooms in our Makana Municipality. Old women who look after their families and due to high rates of unemployment or taking care of their grandchildren because the parents have died of the destructive global pandemic diseases of HIV/AIDS.  Many women die in agony waiting for these RDP house. They think before they die they can lea their family under shelter. This wish has withered in our communities due to corruption and neo liberal policies of the ruling party. The dignity of our people is still something that we must struggle for after 22years of independence. 

We live in broken townships characterised by all ills of our society where women are threatened daily with rape, shacks with no running water, roads that are breaking down, clinics that are understaffed and have no medicine, an education system that is dysfunctional. The life of a black person is still cheap and that of a black woman counts for nothing. 

This newsletter exposes the failure of Makana Municipality to meeting the needs of its residents. It’s a municipality that is placed under administration,  section 139 1(b) of our constitution due to corruption. Vavi’s words echo true that we are led by political hyenas who are in feeding frenzies on the rights and dignity of a black woman.  The stories in this newsletter constitute a microcosm of the national crisis, municipalities that are in a state of decay. Our politicians are blinded, the venom of greed seem to have forgotten that there is more to life than luxury, power and status. 

Indeed, following Fanon and Biko, we believe that those poisoned are indeed responding to the scourge of the colonial mindset in the manner of a madman. We believe it is our responsibility as sovereign individuals to engage in a therapeutic revolt against the corrupting venom that is engulfing our country and is quickly turning it into rather large extension of Fort England and other mental institutions in our country. 

Unemployed Peoples Movement / Grahamstown. 

The UPM team: 

Xolisa Adam , Buntu Brian Plaatjie, Ayanda Kota, Linda Gagayi, Siyasanga Bentle


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