SA Human Rights Commission subpoenas state officials to testify at unrest hearing

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Members of the SA Human Rights Commission, who are investigating the July unrest.
Members of the SA Human Rights Commission, who are investigating the July unrest.
Kaveel Singh
  • The SAHRC has issued subpoenas to state officials who have not agreed to appear before it.
  • The commission is currently holding a hearing into the unrest in July.
  • Several officials are expected to give testimony.

The South African Human Rights Commission has issued subpoenas for state officials to appear at its hearing into the unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July this year.

The commission has undertaken a three-week hearing into the unrest, with witnesses giving testimony before a panel. Senior state officials are expected to appear before the hearing.

So far, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole and Gauteng police commissioner General Elias Mawela have already testified.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala are expected to appear on Friday. However, there have been "non-responses from a number of other state officials", the commission said in a statement.

"Consequently, the commission has issued subpoenas calling on them to appear before the hearing panel.

"Organs of state, including state officials, are under a specific constitutional and statutory duty to cooperate with and assist the commission in the carrying out of its constitutional mandate, to ensure its independence and effectiveness," the statement read.

ALSO READ | Pandor doubts July's unrest affected SA's standing in the world: 'It wasn't our first time'

The hearing got under way on Monday, 15 November, with the panel hearing testimony from survivors, various community members as well as industry players in commerce and private security. The panel also attended an inspection in loco in Pietermaritzburg, Phoenix and surrounding areas last Friday.

The testimonies during the first week detailed the experience of residents affected by the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and pointed to several failures by the police, News24 previously reported.

READ | Week 1 of SAHRC investigation into July unrest: What's been said so far?

The hearing called for submissions from all sectors of society by Friday, 3 December.

"While expressing appreciation for those who have come forward and assisted it with evidence, the commission continues to request persons wishing to make their submissions do so before the hearing panel, either in person or by way of written submissions, rather than on social media or by way of commentary that seeks to bring the process and work of the commission into question," the commission added.

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