On the 28th of March 2018, Umzimvubu Local Municipality together with chapter 9 institutions and local government sector departments commemorated human rights day at the Shinta community hall (Ward 20) in KwaBhaca formerly known as Mount Frere. The commemoration follows a basic service delivery protest in the area whereby community residents requested an update on access roads, electricity, water and sanitation as per the municipal IDP priorities for the area.

According to the South African Bill of Rights, “All South African citizens shall gain free access to government basic services and security”. In line with the above mentioned act, Umzimvubu Local Municipality is obliged to ensure that services are rendered to rural areas as per the country’s constitution and the municipal demographic area which assigns the municipality with the role of improving the lives of all citizens.

According to the Honourable Mayor, Cllr B.P Mabengu, “One of the upcoming projects within the Ngxabaxha community is the electrification of 600 households which is expected to commence during the 1st quarter of 2018/2019 financial year. A series of consultation between the Municipality, Eskom and community members have been conducted in order to ensure that the community works together with contractors so as to certify that the project is completed on time”.

Among other major projects that have been officially handed over to the Shinta Cluster include but not limited to;

- The Construction of Mpolosa/Osborne Bridge in Ward 25. 
- The Construction of Shinta to Diphini Access Road via KwaBoss in Ward 19.
- The Construction of Matankini Access Road in Ward 20.
- The Maintenance of Qoqa to Qunubeni Access Road via Komkhulu/Zibokwana in Ward 21.

On that note, the municipality was also pleased to announce a positive breakthrough with regards to funding allocated for the electrification of housing, due to its outstanding performance in terms of utilizing the allocated grant by the Department of Energy. The municipality is one of three municipalities in the Eastern Cape that has been granted with additional funding of R5 million for further electrification and a minimum of 400 households to be electrified. 

The commemoration was well attended and included participants from the following wards 20, 21, 19, 25 and 16. The following sector departments attended the commemoration – The Commission for Gender Equality as a chapter 9 institution for human rights, Department of Social Development, Home Affairs, SAPS and the Department of Justice attended the commemoration. The dissemination of information from local government to the community is a fundamental right. On that note, access to information was promptly exercised by the aforementioned departments.

As part of monitoring and evaluating the success of the commemoration, the communications unit spoke to Awona Manxoba from ward 20 who spoke highly of the commemoration. She said “the event has taught community members a great deal about human rights as it provides a platform for Umzimvubu citizens to know how best they can exercise their human rights, and the role that the government is playing to uplift the rights of all South Africans’’.

Human Rights day provides an opportunity to celebrate the gains that the country has made but more importantly how best the country can realise social justice for all. The department of Justice plays a big role in ensuring that all South African benefit equally from the constitutions of the country and according to Mrs S. Maqubela-Dikwayo “people must respect others, people’s rights as people should enjoy their rights but do so in a way that is not infringing on the rights of others.

According to Cllr T. Nomkuca “the municipality’s main aim for celebrating Human Rights Day is to ensure that people know their rights and also know that the same rights come with responsibilities. Every South African is entitled to social, cultural and economic rights as entrenched in the constitution of the republic” He concluded.