As democratic South Africa takes a step back to observe Human Rights Day today, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) believes that basic human rights still remain a bridge too far for many fellow South Africans and likewise our continental African counterparts who remain trapped in hunger, domestic violence, dread diseases, rural poverty, xenophobic attacks and poverty wages, compared to scandalous executive pay that remain the order of the day amidst these crippling realities.
FEDUSA would therefore like to call on the government and other stakeholders to:
Stabilise the social grants payment system so that 17 million vulnerable South Africans who depend on social grants to put food on the table are not left hungry and destitute, and that never again should the country ever be subjected to another SASSA and Cash Payment Services type of scandal again; Tighten and intensify the enforcement of legislation that protects women and children against gender based domestic violence and child abuse; Intensify and extend the provision and water and electricity, garbage removal, primary health acre and the roll-out of anti-retroviral drugs to communities that need them.
FEDUSA would also like to appeal to the state to increase resource allocations to rural municipalities to enhance their capacities to fight rural poverty by building roads and bridges, dams, schools and clinics, so children in those areas and the rural population in general no longer have to walk more than five kilometres to the nearest facility.
Brutal farm killings, that have seen 11 people losing their lives on farms in the first 14 days of February this year alone, remains a matter of grave concern to FEDUSA on this human rights day.
The union federation believes that it is high time that the state devolved deeper into the real causes of such killings rather than just treating it as common crime or a way dealing with the thorny land reform issue.
“Our agricultural community is a strategically important component that ensures stability by putting food on everyone’s table, a fundamental human right” says FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George. Moreover, as food security remains a priority, our continued response to the challenges of climate change must be prioritised to ensure sustainability overall, insisted George. Whilst accessibility to water is a basic and fundamental human right, the preservation of this scarce commodity due to adverse weather patterns must be safeguarded, as South Africa responds to another spell of drought in the Western Cape, following state of affairs in four provinces in 2016, which had a knock-on effect on food, fuel and other key sectors.
Last but not least, FEDUSA would like to call on our law enforcement agents to do everything in their power to prevent and curb xenophobic violence against Africans which undermines social cohesion and diplomatic relations on the continent.
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FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry. See www.fedusa.org.za for more information.
FEDUSA General Secretary