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Transforming Society

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Media Statement: SAHRC to hold media briefing on the Launch of the National Investigative Hearing into the July 2021 Unrest, to Commence on Monday the 15th November 2021

11 October 2021

ATT: Editors and Reporters

The National Investigative Hearing into the July 2021 unrest, initiated by the South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission or the SAHRC), will commence on the 15th November 2021 and is planned to be heard over a three week period until the 3rd December 2021.
Unrest erupted and swept through South Africa, particularly in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, from the 8th to the 19th July 2021.  

The unrest was characterised by the loss of life, the targeting of retail centres, malls, shops and other businesses, schools as well as transport systems. Reports state that damages emerging from the claims being dealt with by the State insurance company, in the wake of the unrest, amounted to 25 billion rand. The unrest has indeed deepened unemployment, poverty and rampant socio-economic inequality within South Africa. The unrest accordingly exacerbated, amongst other things, inequality between certain communities, unemployment levels, poverty, hunger and food insecurity.

Also, of concern to the Commission, are reports that as many communities took to the streets to protect their neighbourhoods and businesses, allegations surfaced of the excessive use of force, racial profiling, assaults, arson, and killings in some places.  

It has been suggested that the unrest was orchestrated, that there was a high degree of organisation and instigation that led to the unrest and that the authorities ought to have known and adequately prepared to secure the various towns and cities affected.

Under section 184(2) of the Constitution, the Commission is empowered to investigate and to report on the observance of human rights and to take steps to secure appropriate redress where human rights have been violated. Considering the extent to which human rights were impacted during the events that occured between the 8th and the 19th July 2021 in the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the Commission will, in the exercise of its constitutional and statutory mandate, host the National Investigative Hearing into the July 2021 unrest, the causes of the unrest as well as the impact of the unrest on human rights, which commences on Monday, 15th November 2021.  

The hearing will be presided over by the Hearing Panel who will comprise:
•    The Chairperson of the Hearing Panel – Commissioner André Gaum
•    The Deputy Chairperson of the Hearing Panel – Commissioner Chris Nissen
•    Chief Panelist of the Hearing Panel - Commissioner Philile Ntuli
•    External experts co-opted/appointed by the Panel if so required

The Panel will inquire into, make findings, report on and make recommendations and/or directives concerning the following broad and overarching issues for investigation:

•    The causes of the July unrest, with particular focus on Gauteng Province and KwaZulu-Natal Province.
•    The causes of the alleged racially motivated attacks and killings following the unrest.
•    The causes of the apparent lapses in law enforcement by state security agencies, particularly the SAPS and the role of private security companies in the unrest.
•    The social, economic, spatial and political factors prevalent in the various affected areas and the extent to which these played a role in the unrest.

The Commission invites members of the media to attend a media briefing by the Commission, outlining the scope of the hearing. The media briefing will be held virtually, will be held on Friday, the 12th November 2021, at 13:00 to 14:00 PM, and can be accessed at the following link:,H_2ppBIziEqzoJjhYb_0LA,phZ1j1z3H0moNZlezdeE2g,85y6pJuB30agRlZcqmUJBA,gvDps0Jcv0m6oGqe-RVW_w,ieAY-A8nfkKwh9GW2Whx9w?mode=read&tenantId=0159c87f-d04f-40b5-8866-46fb77a8d382

– Ends –

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 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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