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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Statement: SAHRC proceeds with a Subpoena Hearing against the Municipal Manager: UMzinyathi District Municipality

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Friday, 19 March 2021

The South African Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) initiated an own accord investigation following a series of protest action by residents of Tugela Ferry in the uMsinga Local Municipality within the uMzinyathi District Municipality (“the Municipality”) over water shortages.  The Commission subsequently thereafter received complaints from both the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the National Freedom Party (NFP) on behalf of residents in the Municipality relating to the lack of access to water in the Municipality.  The Commission wrote to the Municipality in October 2019 as part of its investigation into the said allegations however, a response from the Municipality was not forthcoming despite various attempts by the Commission to elicit same.

The right to access basic services such as being able to access sufficient and clean water as provided for in terms of Section 27 of the Constitution is intrinsic to ones right to human dignity.  Given the uMzinyathi District Municipality’s failure to respond, the Commission issued the Municipal Manager, Mr L. H. Mthembu, with a Subpoena Notice to Appear before the Commission in terms of Section 15 (1) (c) and (d) of the Human Rights Commission Act No. 40 of 2013.

The Subpoena hearing was convened on Wednesday, 17 March 2021 and chaired by Commissioner J. B. Sibanyoni at the Commission’s KZN Provincial Office.  The Municipal Manager submitted the necessary information and/or documents and the subpoena proceedings have been concluded.  The Municipal Manager also confirmed that his office would co-operate fully with the Commission going forward.

The Commission’s investigation of the matter, however, continues to ensure accountability and securing appropriate redress for the affected residents.  A report of the Commission’s investigative findings will be made available after the conclusion of the investigation.


Prepared by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Office of the South African Human Rights Commission.
For queries contact the SAHRC’s KZN Provincial Manager, Mr Lloyd Lotz on 031 – 304 7323 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the Senior Legal Officer Ms Pavershree Padayachee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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