“Corruption compromises the state’s ability to fulfil its obligation to South Africans, particularly the poor, and undermines the human rights of all individuals.”
THE SPEAKER of Parliament, Thandi Modise, and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Amos Masondo, have urged South Africans to support the work of the commission of inquiry into allegations of state corruption saying it was a vehicle to fight corruption in the country.
Modise and Masondo made these comments as the country was commemorating Human Rights Day following the deadly events of Sharpeville when police opened fire on anti-pass protesters on March 21, 1960.
“Historically, this day is linked to the tragic events that unfolded in Sharpeville on 21 March 1960. On that day, 69 people died and another 180 were injured, when police opened fire on a peaceful protest against the apartheid government’s discriminatory and dehumanising pass laws.
“Human Rights Day is also a reminder of the importance of our hard-won human rights and freedoms as well as the price paid to attain and protect them in the Constitution of our non-racial, democratic South Africa.
“The Constitution – the supreme law of our country – lists these human rights and freedoms in its Bill of Rights. As former president Nelson Mandela once reminded the nation: ’Our … Constitution … must enshrine all the basic freedoms and rights which will ensure that South Africa becomes a model of democracy, stability and human advancement’,” said Modise.
She said Human Rights Day was also an opportunity to assess how far the government had come in entrenching these human rights and values, particularly as the country continues to combat the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
“This month marks a year since the outbreak of the pandemic in our country in 2020. The pandemic has affected and threatened the livelihood of the nation, especially the poor and vulnerable.
“Importantly, this period has also taught us valuable lessons: through collective effort and human solidarity the spread of the virus can be contained and emerging from its destruction stronger as a nation is possible.
“We are all too aware that much needs to be done to reduce and eliminate the still lingering inequalities in our society that undermines our democratic rights.
“Covid-19 and the need to lessen its spread and health risks has brought these social ills into sharper focus and exacerbated the inequality and poverty, corruption, gender discrimination and gender-based violence still plaguing our society.
“Parliament is mindful of the role it must play and commits to fulfilling this role,” Modise said.
She said that includes keeping a close eye on executive action, passing laws and providing an opportunity for the public to voice their views on issues affecting their daily lives.
Modise said Parliament was closely monitoring the distribution of vaccines to all South Africans through oversight mechanisms to start rebuilding the economy.
“Universal access to all Covid-19 life-saving services is crucial to ensure the protection of everyone’s right to life, livelihoods and socio-economic restoration.
“The effort, through the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, to fight corruption must be appreciated. Corruption compromises states’ ability to fulfil its obligation to South Africans, particularly the poor, and undermines the human rights of all individuals.
“Intensifying the war against Covid-19, crime, corruption and other social ills such as gender-based violence is instrumental to the success of any nation and its development programme.
“Striving together, we can make South Africa a better nation,” Modise said.
– POLITICAL BUREAU