SAHRC: Zuma VIP unit violated man's rights
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
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
"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
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
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
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.