President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed 13 new rights commissioners who will serve for the next five years. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed 13 new rights commissioners who will serve for the next five years.

The appointments, which are for a period of five years, were made in terms of section 9 (1) read with 13 (1) of the Commission Act, 2002 (Act No 19 of 2002).

The Presidency said Ramphosa also appointed, in terms of section 12 of the Act, Professor Luka Mosoma and Dr Sylvia Pheto as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) respectively.

Professor Mosoma served as deputy chairperson in the previous term. 

"President Ramaphosa has congratulated the Commissioners and wished them well in this critical role in ensuring social transformation and nation-building for the attainment of a truly united South African nation,' said the Presidency on Friday. 

Five other commissioners have been re-appointed for another term, namely Sheila Kama, Sicelo Dlamini, Nomalanga Tyamzashe, Adv Richard Botha and Renier Schoeman. 

The other six commissioners are new appointments. They include Tsholofelo Mosala, Dr Oscarine Nokuzolo Mndende, Ramokone Trypina Kgatla, Dr Muneer Abduroaf, Prof Pitika Ntuli, and Mandla Langa.

Commenting on the development, Michael Swain, executive director of Freedom of Religion South Africa  said his organisation "welcomes the appointment of the new commissioners and is committed to working with the commission to ensure that the religious rights of all persons in South Africa (including religious practitioners and their congregants), are protected and promoted.”

Swain added: “In a time where globally there is a serious erosion of religious freedom in multiple areas, the CRL has a critical role to play in creating an environment wherein religious communities can flourish, and religious believers can give expression to their deepest convictions and beliefs within the rule of law. 

"As such, the commission’s role should be not to control, but to enable and enhance believers’ exercising of their religious rights.”

African News Agency(ANA)