Amnesty International decries President Cyril Ramaphosa who they say continues to fail the nation on the delivery of basic human rights

Johannesburg – Amnesty International has said that President Cyril Ramaphosa continues to fail the nation on the delivery of basic human rights. Executive director of Amnesty International South Africa, Shenilla Mohamed, says the president is not fulfilling his duty as the leader of the country.

Mohamed said that multiple failures by the government, including load shedding, are exacerbating the suffering.

“Further dithering and delays cannot be tolerated, and Ramaphosa must use Sona to outline exactly how his administration plans to urgently deliver on the rights enshrined in our Constitution. The country is asking questions and will be listening for answers. We will no longer tolerate lip service,” said Mohamed.

Mohamed said that Ramaphosa should address the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in South Africa, do so once and for all, and not placate the nation with further empty promises.

“Concrete action is required, immediately. Year after year, people take to the streets to demand justice, and year after year Ramaphosa promises to tackle it, but South Africa is still not a safer place for anyone, in particular women and children. People can wait and hope no longer. Promises cannot continue to be broken,” said Mohamed.

Mohamed questioned what had happened to the additional resources, budget, and personnel Ramaphosa committed to deploying in 2019 to curb the scourge.

“Furthermore, the DNA backlog is one of the biggest contributing factors on why the prosecution of thousands of cases has been delayed. This delays justice for victims and survivors. Police Minister Bheki Cele publicly committed to clearing the backlog by the end of January 2023,” she said.

“That date has now passed, and the silence is deafening. We don’t want announcements of additional plans of action. We have enough of those. What we need now is a clear indication of how these plans will be implemented and accountability across the board from Ramaphosa’s chosen cabinet.”

Access to water is another issue pointed out by Mohamed, who said escalating load shedding is placing increased pressure on an ageing and under-maintained water system, threatening the right of millions of people in South Africa to access safe, sufficient, and reliable water.

“The lack of urgency is terrifying. Even before load shedding worsened, millions of people in South Africa did not have access to safe, sufficient, and reliable water. And as infrastructure is further damaged and degraded by the ongoing energy crisis, we could see access to water further decline,” said Mohamed.

According to Mohamed, load shedding caused by the energy crisis in the country has become a life-and-death issue.

“Even this week, healthcare facilities have reported being without power and water. Though some hospitals have been spared from load shedding, Amnesty International South Africa calls on President Ramaphosa to use SONA to exempt all healthcare facilities that rely on Eskom for electricity. This will protect patients and healthcare workers, though the deeper systemic challenges of South Africa’s healthcare system remain and can also not be ignored,” said Mohamed.

The Star

Author: editor

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