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SAHRC to probe July unrest that claimed more than 300 lives and cost SA billions

29 October 2021

Next month, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will begin its investigation into the civil unrest that occurred in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July to uncover what caused the riots and determine the socio-economic and spatial factors that may have played role.
For eight days in July, South Africa witnessed looting, damage to property and violence that claimed the lives of more than 300 people in both provinces.

Around 180 malls, shopping centres, warehouses and factories were damaged, along with 161 liquor outlets and distributors.
It was estimated that the destruction cost the country billions, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The government, including Ramaphosa, said the unrest was a planned attack on the country.
Ramaphosa said during an address to the nation in July:
It is clear now that the events of the past week were nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy. The constitutional order of our country is under threat.

He also went as far as saying that the looting and violence was "a smokescreen to carry out economic sabotage through targeted attacks on trucks, factories, warehouses and other infrastructure necessary for the functioning of our economy and the provision of services to our people".
The police ministry and Police Minister Bheki Cele echoed similar sentiments as well as State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, who said planned attacks on vital infrastructure had been prevented.

During a briefing on Friday, SAHRC chairperson Professor Bongani Majola said their investigation into the unrest would start in November.
Majola explained that during the unrest, there were constitutional violations which the commission was mandated to investigate.
He said the commission would investigate, and make findings and recommendations on the following:
- the causes of the unrest;       
- the causes of the allegedly racially motivated attacks and killings;
- the causes of the apparent lapses in law enforcement agencies, including private security;
- and the extent to which socio-economic and spatial factors played a role in the unrest

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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