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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

SAHRC to host ’candid dialogue’ following riots and looting spree

20 July 2021

Pretoria - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is set to host dialogue and stakeholder engagements following the widespread violence and looting in parts of South Africa last week.
“The Commission recognises that the events which led up to violent incidents in different provinces, along with the resultant consequences, are complex and multifaceted.

’’The Commission will therefore host a candid dialogue in an effort to find resolution toward the circumstances that gave rise to last week’s events,” said SAHRC spokesperson Gushwell Brooks.

“The Commission’s constitutional mandate to protect, promote, monitor and assess the observance of human rights, places it in a central role in understanding and dealing with the prevailing conditions, which led to many South Africans forcibly looting even the most basic food items, amongst many other things of significant economic value.”

During and following what the South African government has termed an “attempted insurrection”, the Commission said it has also taken note of tensions that have erupted within and between particular communities.

“These tensions have been exposed in the midst of the trauma experienced during and in the aftermath of the violence portending a state of fearfulness and general disharmony between neighbours and among fellow South Africans,” said Brooks.

“The SAHRC, in wishing to foster social cohesion among all people within the country, aims to pay special attention to this matter, in devising its response plan, which is being finalised.”

The Commission said it will bring various community based organisations, civil society, faith based communities and other Chapter 9 organisations together for the dialogue to be held on Friday, in an an effort to ensure that there are sufficient responses throughout the country to support the protection and development of our constitutional values and respect for the rule of law.

The event will also be live-streamed via the SAHRC’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal last week witnessed a trail of destruction and looting of shops for several days in violence that started off as protests against former president Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment. The former president handed himself over to authorities to start serving a 15-month jail term contempt of court as ordered by the Constitutional Court.

This stems from Zuma last November walking out from a sitting of the commission probing state capture during his term in office. His move was in reaction to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s rejection of Zuma’s demand that he recused himself over his alleged bias.

Zuma subsequently defied court orders to return to the commission and testify. His jailing has angered his supporters, who say Zuma has been politically targeted.

Source: African News Agency (ANA)

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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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