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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

CRL Rights Commission and SAHRC probing KZN unrest which left hundreds dead in July

6 September 2021

PRETORIA – The CRL Rights Commission is continuing with its intervention to facilitate the resolution of friction among communities in KwaZulu-Natal in the aftermath of deadly violence, looting and widespread vandalism in July.

“The intervention by the CRL Rights Commission is largely focused on fact finding to facilitate the resolution of friction between and within the identified communities or between any such community and an organ of state where community rights are affected, in the interest of promoting social cohesion, unity and co-existence among and between the afflicted communities,” said CRL Rights Commission spokesperson Mpiyakhe Mkholo.

He said the CRL Rights Commission will continue its second leg of its engagements in KZN from Tuesday until Friday.

“It is at the conclusion of these engagements with relevant communities in KZN, that the CRL Rights Commission will bring relevant matters to the attention of the appropriate authority or organ of state, and where appropriate, make recommendations to such authority or organ of state in dealing with such matters to assist the affected communities to live in accordance to the spirit of the Constitution as also reflected in the CRL Rights Commission’s Act 19 of 2002,” said Mkholo.

On the other hand, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said in line with its mandate to protect, promote, monitor and assess the observance of human rights, its intervention seeks to understand the conditions that led to the unrest.

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“Already, the SAHRC hosted an Imbizo with the public on July 23 as part of its efforts to understand and respond to the unrest, and the subsequent human rights impact arising from it,” said SAHRC spokesperson Gushwell Brooks.

"The Commission had, through its ongoing presence in the two affected provinces (KZN and Gauteng), made community interventions and had undertaken fact finding visits to various affected communities."

He said the SAHRC has also received various complaints about the unrest and has taken note of tensions that ensued, or were exacerbated within and between affected communities.

Brooks said the SAHRC resolved to launch a National Investigative Hearing to address some of the concerns emerging from the July Imbizo, the complaints it received and the monitoring efforts that it conducted in the affected areas.

The findings of the National Investigative Hearing will inform the SAHRC’s recommendations and directives.

Some of the concerns which the SAHRC has resolved to probe through the investigation include:

· The role and effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in preventing or containing the unrest and maintaining public order.

· The underlying factors which have contributed to the unrest, looting and violence.

· Recommendations and directives, where required, for the short, medium and long-term measures to be adopted by relevant stakeholders and the state to address the resultant human rights violations and to address the prevailing circumstances giving rise to various violations of rights as reflected in the Bill of Rights.

The CRL Rights Commission and the SAHRC said their efforts, while similarly aimed at restoring social harmony, peace and stability in the affected communities, seek to address the prevailing conditions through the commissions’ different mandates.

“The two commissions will continue to liaise and work with each other as well as engage with the various stakeholders in KZN and elsewhere to help bring about lasting peace, stability, justice, and development in the affected communities,” the commissions said.

In July, the government announced that the death toll in KwaZulu-Natal has been revised down from 258 to 251 as some deaths were found not to be related to the #FreeJacobZuma unrest.

In Gauteng, 42 murders were being investigated by the police and 37 inquest dockets had been opened.

Source: African News Agency

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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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