Government is capable of resolute action
IN TERMS of section 7(2) of the constitution, the state is obliged to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights.
This means that at the very least, the state must refrain from interfering with existing rights.
It is clear that where access to water, sanitation, electricity and fire and emergency services once existed but are then taken away due to a dispute within or relating to the management of a municipality, there may be a violation of fundamental rights of inhabitants.
In the context of widespread and continuing disruption of basic services to people and communities pertaining to the rendering of the municipal services that has led people to riot by burning tyres and blocking roads, throwing rocks into non-functioning boreholes and destroying non-functioning infrastructure, the government has to step in as it did in the case where Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality failed to discharge its duties.
Municipalities are the face of government to the communities they are supposed to serve.
If they fail to provide services to the people, and if excep- tional circumstances warrant it, the constitution provides that the provincial executive may step in to dissolve the municipal council and appoint an administrator.
This is what happened in the case of that municipality when the provincial govern- ment fired all councillors and placed the municipality under administration. This is great stuff. The government needs to get tougher in regard to other municipalities and departments that fail the people they are obliged to serve, because of a variety of factors and reasons.
The Constitutional Court had rightly denied the municipality the right to access it because court actions take a great deal of time and in the interim who really suffers? The people.
Now how about acting resolutely in areas of corruption and fraud in the same way as it did in the case of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality which failed to discharge its duties?
WHERE THEY FAIL: Officials view the site of a protest against poor service delivery by Newclare residents. The writer says underperforming municipalities should be placed under administration.