SAHRC: Zuma VIP unit violated man's rights

2011-07-07 13:45

Cape Town - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has found that members of the Presidential Special Protection Unit violated the rights of Chumani Maxwele of Cape Town.

The commission also recommended Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa personally apologise to Maxwele and take steps to ensure the SA Police Service acts in terms of the Constitution and the law.

The commission's finding follows a complaint lodged by the FW de Klerk Foundation's Centre for Constitutional Rights which was represented by its director, advocate Nicola de Havilland, on behalf of Maxwele.

On February 10, 2010, members of the unit arrested and detained Maxwele for allegedly gesturing with his middle finger at a convoy of police vehicles reportedly transporting President Jacob Zuma.

During this incident Maxwele is also alleged to have resisted arrest.

Subsequent to this, the foundation lodged a complaint with the commission alleging that members of the unit violated Maxwele's human rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

In a statement on Thursday, the commission said after conducting an investigation into the matter it found that Maxwele's rights had indeed been violated.

These were his rights to human dignity (Section 10), freedom and security of the person (Section 12), privacy (Section 14), freedom of expression and peaceful/unarmed demonstration (Sections 16 & 17), political choice (Section 19), and the rights of detained persons (Section 35).

"The Minister of Police, who is a respondent in this matter, has acted in an unreasonable and unacceptable manner by initially failing to co-operate with it and respond timeously and substantively, to its request for information.

"As a result, the commission proceeded to issue this report without substantive input from the Minister," it said.

The commission also found that the Minister should be held vicariously liable for the acts of members and employees of SAPS who were found to have been acting within the course and scope of employment.

"The commission therefore recommends that the Minister, on behalf of all the members/employees who are involved in this incident, should make a full written apology to Mr Maxwele for their unlawful and unconstitutional behaviour.

"This apology should be submitted to the commission within 30 days of the Minister's receipt of the commission's report."

Furthermore, the Minister should also provide a report to the commission within three months of the date of his receipt of the report indicating his plan, with specific timeframes, towards implementing the recommended remedies.

These were that the Minister and members of the Presidential Special Protection Unit acknowledge within three months that they accepted the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law in accordance with Section 1(c), as well as the duty of the state in terms of section 7(2) to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights.

In addition, the commission also recommended that the Minister should indicate the steps he would take in terms of Section 199(5) of the Constitution to ensure that SAPS acted, taught, and required its members and specifically members of the unit who were found to have been involved in this matter, acted in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  jacob zuma  |  nathi mthethwa  |  cape town

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