HRC slams ANC for open toilets

THE SA Human Rights Commission (HRC) has slated the ANC for the open toilets in Moqhaka municipality in the Free State.

After seven months of investigating the sanitation services in Rammulotsi informal settlement, where one Gareth van Onselen complained that there were many open toilets, the HRC finally released its findings yesterday.

Addressing journalists at the HRC offices in Johannesburg yesterday, deputy chairperson Pregs Govender said Moqhaka municipality failed to adequately conceptualise, plan and implement its project which resulted in residents being forced to use unenclosed toilets.

"The municipality's explanation that it lacked adequate resources was not justified and is therefore unacceptable," Govender said.

The HRC upheld Van Onselen's complaint that the rights of human dignity, privacy and a clean environment had been violated.

"The provincial and national governments have not adequately monitored the work of the municipality or intervened in respect of the legislative and constitutional obligations," Govender said.

The HRC recommended that the municipality proceed with urgency to enclose all toilets in the area.

It also ordered the municipality to furnish it with a progress report at least every six months in respect of the progressive realisation of the right to water and sanitation services in the township.

Last month the DA complained about the HRC's delay in making public its findings on the open toilet saga.

DA spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko accused the commission of dragging its feet in investigating the matter, while it had been quick to investigate open toilets in Makhaza informal settlement in Khayelitsha built by the DA-led City of Cape Town.

But HRC chief executive Kayum Ahmed said the delay was caused by the resignation of the person who was responsible for the Free State.

Mazibuko yesterday called on the ANC to retract and apologise for its accusations of racism made against the DA in relation to the situation in Makhaza.

Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, Collins Chabane, said they would respond after studying the report.