Govt perpetuating human rights abuses, says opposition parties

Various parties shared messages commemorating Human Rights Day on Sunday, warning that government has failed in its duty to protect South Africans.

DA leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: @Our_DA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Opposition parties have accused government of perpetuating human rights abuses, specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Various parties shared messages commemorating Human Rights Day on Sunday, warning that government has failed in its duty to protect South Africans.

This year’s commemoration was held under the theme: the year of Charlotte Maxeke: promoting human rights in the age of COVID-19 - paying tribute to the 150th anniversary of the birth of the liberation struggle heroine.

Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said 61 years after the Sharpeville massacre, police brutality had still not been adequately addressed.

“When we hear the family of 16-year-old Nathaniel Julies still crying because the police allegedly took his life, we must know there is no respect for human rights.”

In his message, Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen lambasted government’s procurement and slow roll-out of vaccines.

“The fact that South Africa has only managed to get hold of a couple of tiny test batches of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, should be a source of great shame for our government. We are already seeing the devastating effect of this as South Africa is now the most travel-restricted country in the world, and where our vaccination programme will only begin when other countries are already concluding theirs.”

WATCH: Ramaphosa wishes South Africans a ‘healthy, happy and peaceful’ Human Rights Day

Meanwhile, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission Bongani Majola has on Sunday warned that corruption is the greatest threat to human rights and democracy.

In his human rights message, Majola called on public officials to follow in Maxeke's footsteps by bringing back ethical leadership, centred on actually serving the nation.

“It is high time that the government walks the talk and take action to deal with corruption head on.”

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