Date: Oct 11, 2021 Type: Country:

South Africa: Stop the politicking, deliver on human rights obligations

People who live in communities with lack of basic services such as water, sanitation and housing are calling on politicians to deliver these services and stop empty promises, Amnesty International revealed today through a new video story ahead of the 1 November local government election.

“The lack of access to services such as safe water, sanitation and adequate housing is a violation of fundamental human rights. Service delivery is a right and not a privilege. Politicians must stop making empty political promises,” said Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa’s . 

“In recent times, the quality of service delivery has largely been weakened by corruption. This, at the expense of people living in the country who are constitutionally entitled to have their basic needs met and to live with dignity.

“Those who are meant to be serving the people need to stop the politicking and deliver on human rights obligations.” Shenilla Mohamed said.

Amnesty International South Africa on Monday released its #DignityNOW video, in line with its campaign calling on the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to ensure that all municipalities fulfil their constitutional mandate to provide basic services to everyone in South Africa.

Activists have decried the state of service delivery and have shown us how they struggle daily with insufficient access to water, sanitation and housing. 

This is critical given that almost 20 million people in South Africa do not have access to safe, reliable water and 14 million people do not have access to basic sanitation. 

Meanwhile, 3.7 million families are still waiting for access to adequate housing.

Samson Mabuza, from Evaton, a township in the Emfuleni region of Gauteng, said there is no service delivery where he lives and there has been no improvements.

“People are still struggling with water, and sewage is all over the streets,” he said.

Mabuza said six households have to collect water from one tap.

Simangoliso Busiswe Nkuta from Orange Farm, 42km outside the City of Johannesburg, said the area remains seriously under-developed.

The people feel the government has failed them.

“It is high time for our government to provide for our human needs. They should stop using the state’s money for their personal benefits. They have to provide for our basic needs… But it seems we need to beg for our basic human rights. No, we don’t have to, it’s a must,” said Samson Mabuza.


Amnesty International South Africa’s #DignityNow campaign calls on the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to ensure that all municipalities fulfil their constitutional mandate to provide basic services to everyone in South Africa by prioritising: 


Accountability: To commitments made at all levels of local government to ensure the equitable delivery of basic services. This includes monitoring the progress of municipalities in reaching service delivery goals by being responsive to the needs of communities, creating opportunities for active community participation and providing services in a timely, progressive and sustainable manner. 

Transparency: To ensure there is accountability for the abuse of power and the mismanagement of public funds at all levels of local government during the pandemic and going forward. This includes prioritising reforms that improve financial management systems; hiring skilled personnel; ending impunity for crimes of corruption; promoting good governance and access to information, particularly when it comes to decision making.  

Access to information: To ensure that municipalities adhere to the legal requirement to consult with communities and provide information and feedback on budget and plans. This includes running robust awareness campaigns on accessible platforms that promote the active participation of communities.

Take action here and call on the South African government to give people #DignityNOW.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Genevieve Quintal, Media and Communications Officer, Amnesty International South Africa: +27 (0)64 890 9224;

Public Document 


Amnesty International South Africa office, 97 Oxford Road, Saxonwold, Johannesburg, 2196