Gov­ern­ment is ca­pa­ble of res­o­lute ac­tion

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Saber Jazb­hay Dur­ban

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?

PIC­TURE: NONHLELO NSINGO

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.

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