SAHRC probing 'dompas' system

2015-03-11 14:01
Gardener Tsepho Mahola shows his "green card". (Denvor de Wee, Netwerk24)

Gardener Tsepho Mahola shows his "green card". (Denvor de Wee, Netwerk24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) may launch its own investigation into allegations of workers being forced to apply for a green card to access certain parts of Worcester, it said on Wednesday.

The commission's Western Cape manager had delegated a number of staff to travel to Worcester to see whether there were grounds for an own initiative investigation, spokesperson Isaac Mangena said.

The SAHRC had not received a formal complaint and had therefore not determined whether rights had been violated.

However, it believed such a system would infringe on the rights to equality, dignity, and freedom of movement.

The Daily Voice newspaper recently reported that the cards were being given to people who worked, or wanted to work, in certain neighbourhoods after a rise in break-ins and theft.

A Worcester police sector commander Sergeant Julian Plaatjies told the newspaper that he verified the work history information given by applicants.

"But normally the employer contacts us with the worker's details. We check that the applicant has no pending criminal cases relating to our priority crimes, and then process all the details," he was quoted as saying.

He insisted those with a criminal record were not discriminated against and that the card was not the same as a "dompas", used during apartheid to restrict movement.

"With the dompas system, people were arrested if they didn’t have the pass, but nothing of that sort happens here... people move around freely and we won’t ask them to produce a green card if we see them in the area."

On Tuesday, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato discussed the system with provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer.

Plato said Lamoer had assured him that senior police management would investigate the system and compile a report.

Plato said the green card system was not a community safety department initiative and the police had not informed him of it.

"The SA Police Service, an entity which the Western Cape government has no operational control over, needs to answer whether it is a programme initiated by them or why the system has been endorsed by the local sector commander," he said.

Provincial police spokesperson Andre Traut confirmed on Wednesday that an investigation was under way.

Mangena said he was aware of the police investigation and would be monitoring the process to see "how far it goes".

Read more on:    police  |  sahrc  |  dan plato  |  cape town  |  crime  |  racism  |  human rights

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.