File picture: Sizwe Ndingane/Independent Media
Johannesburg – The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) on Tuesday said basic human rights still remain "a bridge too far" for many fellow South Africans and likewise our African counterparts.

"Fedusa believes that basic human rights still remain a bridge too far for many fellow South Africans and likewise our continental African counterparts who remain trapped in hunger, domestic violence, dread diseases, rural poverty, xenophobic attacks and poverty wages."

Fedusa said compared to "scandalous executive pay that remain the order of the day" – these crippling realities remain entrenched in South Africa. The largest politically non-aligned trade union federation, Fedusa, made the comments as the country commemorates Human Rights Day.

The union federation also called on government to "stabilise" the social grants payment system so that 17 million vulnerable South Africans who depend on social grants to put food on the table are not left hungry and destitute. "... never again should the country ever be subjected to another Sassa and Cash Payment Services type of scandal again ... (SA must) tighten and intensify the enforcement of legislation that protects women and children against gender based domestic violence and child abuse."

Fedusa also urged the government to "intensify and extend the provision and water and electricity, garbage removal, primary health acre and the roll-out of antiretroviral drugs to communities that need them".

The union federation also used Human Rights Day to appeal to the government to increase allocation of resources to rural municipalities to enable them to build roads, bridges, dams, schools and clinics.

"Brutal farm killings, that have seen 11 people losing their lives on farms in the first 14 days of February this year alone, remains a matter of grave concern to Fedusa on this Human Rights Day," said General Secretary Dennis George.

"The union federation believes that it is high time that the State delves deeper into the real causes of such killings rather than just treating them as common crime or a way of dealing with the thorny land reform issue.

“Our agricultural community is a strategically important component that ensures stability by putting food on everyone's table – a fundamental human right."

George said Fedusa was calling on "our law enforcement agents to do everything in their power to prevent and curb xenophobic violence against Africans". He said xenophobic violence undermines social cohesion and diplomatic relations on the continent.