DURBAN - No responses from a number of State officials to appear before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has led to the commission issuing subpoenas for them to appear before the panel.
The SAHRC commenced its National Investigative Hearing into the July 2021 Unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. The commission began hearing from witnesses from Monday, November 15, 2021.
It has heard testimony from survivors, various community members, as well as industry players in commerce and private security.
SAHRC spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said following an application by the evidence leaders, the panel granted a ruling for an inspection in loco in Pietermaritzburg, Phoenix and surrounding areas. The inspection took place on Friday, November 19, 2021.
Brooks said the hearing had received a positive reception from all quarters of the country and many stakeholders, especially the public.
“The subject matter of this hearing is a matter of national concern and implicates various rights such as the right to security, the right to be free from all forms of violence, the right to not to have one’s possessions seized and the right to life. Our Constitution is founded on the principle of accountability.”
Brooks said the commission’s mandate is, among others, to monitor and assess the observance of human rights in the Republic.
“Ultimately, it falls on the commission in terms of the Constitution of the Republic to investigate and report on issues where human rights have been violated and to take steps to secure appropriate redress.”
The commission has publicly called for submissions from all sectors of society and will continue to receive submissions beyond Friday, December 3, 2021, when it is expected that the in-person hearings will end.
Brooks said all parties and stakeholders would be afforded every opportunity to be heard in a fair and unbiased fashion, and any insinuation to the contrary is without substance.
While expressing appreciation for those who have come forward and assisted it with evidence, the commission continues to request persons wishing to make their submissions do so before the hearing panel either in person or by way of written submissions, rather than on social media or by way of commentary that seeks to bring the process and work of the SAHRC into question.
Brooks said the commission had invited a number of State officials requesting that they kindly appear in person at the national hearing.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the National Commissioner of the SAPS General Khehla Sitole and the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner of SAPS General Mawela, have already appeared and testified before the panel on the first day of the week.
“While the commission appreciates the assistance of the above-mentioned state officials, it notes that there have been non-responses from a number of other state officials. Consequently, the commission has issued subpoenas calling on them to appear before the panel.”
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