LIVE FEED: SAHRC hearings into July unrest resumes
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DURBAN - THE South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) hearing into the July unrest resumed on Tuesday at the Gateway Hotel in uMhlanga, Durban, with the commission set to hear more witness testimony as some were not offered the opportunity last week due to time constraints.
The commission will hear the testimonies of two Durban residents, one from KwaMashu and another from the uMlazi township, just south of Durban, who are set to share their ordeal.
Yesterday, the panel heard testimonies from South African government officials, including the former minister of defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Mapisa-Nqakula said that there was a lack of cooperation from the KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner during the July unrest.
She said the KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner, Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, was reluctant to share information with her and colleagues.
"There was no cooperation whatsoever from the people responsible here," Mapisa-Nqakula said.
National police commissioner Khehla Sithole delivered his testimony yesterday via a video as he was at an Interpol conference in Turkey. Sithole said he gave an instruction for all SAPS members to be deployed during the unrest, and anything else would constitute misconduct.
The July unrest, from what we have experienced, was a planned gathering with an unpredicted modus operandi. The planners first invented a new modus operandi. Thereafter, they executed it.
“It was the first modus operandi of its kind — the first unrest that started directly at level 3 (level one being the lowest for public unrest). Level 1 and 2 capacity was already written off when (the unrest) started. Evidence gathered proves that it was planned.”
“The instruction I gave was that all resources of SAPS must be deployed, and a written instruction was (issued). No other instruction would have been given contrary to this. It would have amounted to misconduct.”
Last Friday, the commission conducted an inspection in loco at various spots around Phoenix and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal to close off its first week of testimonies.
The commission visited various stops along the Phoenix Highway where barricades were set up by community members who feared for their lives and property, as the ‘free Jacob Zuma’ protest spiralled out of control, leaving shopping malls and municipal assets destroyed in its wake.
The commission also visited the Phoenix police station, where lead investigator Advocate Buang Jones and the station commander got into a heated exchange of words over mandates and protocols.