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Government must review public participation model – Alexandra inquiry hears

The SAHRC probe was set up following weeks of disruptive service delivery protests earlier this year.

Head of the department of corporative governance in Gauteng Thandeka Mosa. Picture: Edwin Ntshidi/EWN.

ALEXANDRA - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) inquiry into Alexandra has heard how lawlessness is a serious issue in the township.

The probe was set up following weeks of disruptive service delivery protests earlier this year.

Last week, tensions flared again when the Red Ants demolished 80 illegally erected structures in Marlboro informal settlement.

The first witness to take the stand at the inquiry on Monday afternoon was head of the department of cooperative governance in Gauteng Thandeka Mosa who told the panel there were many issues of concern in Alexandra.

“What we picked up in Alex is that some communities were of the view that even though they raised concerns proactively, these [community challenges] were not timeously or adequately addressed. And there could be perceptions that maybe the differences in political affiliation by different councillors could have led to that,” Mosa said.

Mosa explained how councillors and business forums were also problematic, making it difficult for the government to deliver services.

She said the mushrooming of illegal shacks and illegal electric connections were a problem in the troubled township.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Mosa said government needed to review its public participation model.

She detailed how government could strengthen ward committees in order to improve public participation.

She also said she respected the fact that the SAHRC was concerned about the protection of human rights, however, she wondered why some were allowed to trample on the rights of others.

“Are we going to have a conversation about some members of communities disregarding the rights of their fellow community members?” she asked.

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