Durban - The South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) inquiry into the July unrest resumes on Thursday in uMhlanga, north of Durban, with testimonies expected from a witness from Phoenix and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in KwaZulu-Natal.
The hearings are in their second week. Among those who have testified are Police Minister Bheki Cele, National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole and the KZN and Gauteng provincial police commissioners Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and Elias Mawela respectively.
Thursday’s testimonies are expected to be given by three advocates from the NPA in KwaZulu-Natal – Noxy Dube, Kwena Mashamaite and Val Melis.
On Monday, Sitole told the SAHRC panel that the country’s Public Order Policing (POP) unit was understaffed and plans to rebuild it were reliant on budget allocation.
He told the panel that the unit had 5 005 POP officers, when it was supposed to have 12 000, adding that that was a consequence of the POP being gradually scaled down since 1993.
However, Sitole said that if there were to be another unrest situation in the province, the police would be ready.
This week, Mkhwanazi came under intense scrutiny following former defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s testimony that his “immaturity” and “ego” had led to the army being deprived of information during the unrest.
“There were indications from the police that the police were overwhelmed by what was happening. There was no co-operation whatsoever from the people responsible here (KZN)," Mapisa-Nqakula had told the inquiry.