Human Rights Day in South Africa is historically linked with 21 March 1960, and the events of Sharpeville. On that day, 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired shots into a peaceful crowd, who had gathered in protest of the Pass laws. Basic human rights include the right to life and liberty, the right to work and education, and much more. Many years later Eskom`s incessant loadshedding is disrupting some of these fundamental rights in South Africa. It contributes to the failing economy and affects the most vulnerable members of society. MONIQUE HANSEN asked a few Impact News readers if they think access to electricity is a right or a privilege.
20 years ago, I would say having access to electricity is a privilege, but today, it is our right. Our economy gets weaker because of load shedding, which means the cost of living is higher. People with major health issues rely on electricity. In most cases, our lives stand still during load shedding, and our right to access electricity is non-existent.
According to international law and domestic systems, it does not specifically prescribe a right to electricity. In international law, the implied right to electricity is viewed as an add-on to the right to development, which encompasses access to clean and efficient energy.
We have a right to access electricity. Back in the day, it was acceptable to say electricity is a privilege, but in today’s life, everything works with electricity, and most importantly we pay for access. We have been robbed of the right to access not only electricity but, knowledge and information
It would be a step in the wrong direction if many people are forced to live like their ancestors, just because they cannot afford to keep the lights on. Times have changed, and electricity cannot be deemed a privilege but, in this day, and age it should be a right.