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SAHRC to hold hearings into KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng unrest

04 August 2021

The SA Human Rights Commission will be instituting hearings into the recent unrest that swept through KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, with proceedings expected to commence within the next three weeks.
Commissioner Chris Nissen on Wednesday said the process would be initiated in terms of its own Constitutional mandate and in response to numerous complaints received, as well as a request by President Cyril Ramaphosa for the Chapter 9 institution to investigate what he had called an attempted insurrection.

Nissen, who was in KwaZulu-Natal last week, said he had seen first-hand how various communities had been affected by the violence.

"The criminal aspect is the responsibility of the police. But when it comes to establishing and understanding what went wrong as well as issues surrounding social cohesion, that is when we step in," he said.

People affected by the unrest will be encouraged to share their stories and experiences during proceedings, Nissen added.

"We need to look at how we can mend, heal and build social cohesion, while it is also important that anyone who was victim to racist attacks come out so that the [attackers] can face the consequences."

Nissen said the SAHRC was in the process of organising the hearings and that they were scheduled to commence within the next three weeks.

"All Covid-19 protocols will be observed. Testimonies can be given virtually, but also in loco, as the people affected may not all have access to gadgets," he said.

In addition to unpacking the build-up and effects of the riots, Nissen said they would also explore socioeconomic rights and destitution as contributing factors.

“Poverty is no excuse to get involved in violence, but this is something we will have to look at as well."

Source: News24

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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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