Office Hours Mon-Fri: 08:00-16:30 | Call Center +27 12 369 8000
Home | Contact Us



Upcoming Events



Quick Links

SALGA Council of Speakers
Alternative Technology for Protecting Municipal Infrastructure Symposium
SALGA Womens Commission
Special National Members Assembly 2021
National Members Assembly 2020
25 Years of Local Government
Fourth National Communicators Forum
Provincial Members Assembly 2020
Commercial Products and Services Input Form External


Social Media

Follow Us on Social Media










The Impact On Infrastructure Theft And Vandalism On The Basic Human Rights To Communities



Posted: 22 March 2023

Human Rights Day that is commemorated annually on 21 March is to remind South Africans about the sacrifices that accompanied the struggle for the attainment of democracy in South Africa. The South African Constitution is hailed as one of the most progressive in the world and is the ultimate protector of all South Africans' Human Rights. However, with all the challenges currently facing the country it important to reflect on wide ranging issues that impact human rights.

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 provides that all the citizens of the republic have a right to water, property, electricity, freedom of movement and right to freely engage in economic activities. Infrastructure vandalism and theft threatens these integral Constitutional rights of South Africans.
In the past years South Africa has experienced a huge spike in vandalism and theft of public infrastructure, and some of the ways that infrastructure vandalism and theft has impacted on basic human rights include:

  • Communities and individuals not having access to basic services as infrastructure vandalism and theft has resulted in the destruction of critical infrastructure, such as water supply systems, electricity grids, and transportation networks; making it difficult or impossible for people to access basic services, such as clean water, healthcare, and education.

The Rand West City in Gauteng reported that "cable theft in 2021 led to power outages in five suburbs, with one suffering from a loss of water as well. In one case, thieves stole 80 meters of medium-voltage cable, leaving the affected communities without lights for 18 hours''. As result, human rights to have access to water and electricity were violated.

  • Infrastructure vandalism and theft has also impacted people's freedom of movement, as there has been a severe disruption to the transportation networks making it difficult for people to travel to work, school, or other essential destinations. This may be viewed as having a negative impact on people's ability to earn a living and participate in social and cultural activities.

During the 2020 Covid 19 lockdown rail infrastructure was hugely impacted by infrastructure vandalism and millions of commuters were left stranded without transport. According PRASA infrastructure vandalism and theft led to millions of commuters stranded without affordable transportation. PRASA estimated that taxis charge around 2,5 times the rail fare.

  • Further, infrastructure vandalism and theft has also impacted people's right to property - as often seen in protests where there has been damage or destruction of private property and businesses. This often has a negative impact on people's livelihoods and economic well-being.

Section 152 of the constitution provides that municipalities must ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner and to promote social and economic development . However, due to infrastructure vandalism and theft, municipalities are impeded from providing services to communities as mandated by the constitution. Effective service delivery in local government is largely dependent on infrastructure and any disruptions caused by infrastructure theft and vandalism has an impact on economic value chain.

In statement release in February 2023, the Gauteng legislature Portfolio Committee on Community Safety stated that "State Infrastructure has a strategic role to play in the economic recovery and growth South Africa currently needs. Any damage or theft of infrastructure amounts to economic sabotage".

  • Section 11 of the Bill of Rights guarantees that everyone in South Africa the right to life . There are numerous cited incidents where, due to the theft of road infrastructure, example traffic lights and signage have led to vehicle accidents that have resulted in injury and/or loss of life.

Overall, Infrastructure vandalism can have a significant impact on human rights, as it can result in the disruption or denial of essential services that people rely on for their daily lives and should be condemned and prevented whenever possible. SALGA is currently working with government departments and, through its members, with communities to protect municipal infrastructure to ensure that people have access to essential services and basic rights.









Previous News Pages: 1 2 3

Site Map:

Welcome to SALGA
Our Constitution
Governance Framework
Our Structure
Executive Management Team
National Executive Committee
Provincial Executive Committee
National Working Groups
Provincial Working Groups
Provincial Overviews

Media Room
Press Releases
Media Statements
Image Gallery
SALGA Media Enquiries


Municipal Focus
About Municipalities
Guidelines for Municipalities
Municipal Audit Outcomes
Municipal Finance
Municipal Planning
Treasury Reports
Municipal Contact Details

Documents and Publications
Annual Reports
Annual Performance Plans
Strategic Plans
Corporate Presentation
Voice Magazine
National Members Assembly
National Municipal Managers Forum


Knowledge Hub
Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
SALGA Lexis Nexis Legal Content
Good Governance Learning Network
Learning Framework for Local Government
Local Government Briefs
Knowledge Hub Documents
Knowlede Hub Publications
Knowledge Portals

Stakeholder Relations
Stakeholder Management Framework
Stakeholder Management Directory



Suppliers & Vendors
Tender Notices
Terms of Reference for Tenders
Responsive Bidders to Tenders
Results to Bids
Central Supplier Database
Standard Bid Documents
Evaluation Criteria for Procurement
Government Procurement Conditions of Contract
Request for Proposals

SALGA Offices

Copyright 2017
Legal Notice Disclaimer

Social Media