- The SAHRC and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma met on Tuesday.
- The meeting was to discuss possible areas of collaboration against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
- It was agreed to set up a technical committee to assist the government in ensuring Covid-19 measures are consistent with human rights.
Almost four months after the introduction of a nationwide lockdown, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, have agreed to set up a technical committee to help the government ensure that Covid-19 measures adopted are consistent with human rights.
According to a joint statement by the commission and Dlamini-Zuma, a meeting was held on Tuesday to discuss possible areas of collaboration to help in the furtherance of human rights against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The meeting was held following a submission by the SAHRC to Minister Dlamini-Zuma regarding aspects of the regulations governing the National State of Disaster that were published in March 2020," the statement read.
"Among others, the meeting discussed the issue of criminalisation of offences related to Covid-19 regulations, evictions, blacklisting of creditors and the impact of other Covid-19 measures on human rights."
The statement further said the commission and Dlamini-Zuma agreed to establish an engagement mechanism between the SAHRC and the Cogta department.
"The mechanism will consist of a technical committee that will assist Minister Dlamini-Zuma and Commissioners of the SAHRC to engage on and sort out issues at an early stage, before they develop into problems.
"Among others, the mechanism will deal with issues relating to Covid-19 measures (including regulations, directions, etc) and their impact on human rights.
"Both parties hope that this mechanism will assist government efforts to ensure that Covid-19 measures it adopts are consistent with human rights."
During the meeting, it was also agreed the engagement mechanism would deal with human rights issues in general, within the context of the work of the department of Cogta, including issues of service delivery, especially of water and sanitation, housing and other human rights at a local government level.
"In this regard, it was agreed that a meeting be held in future, involving local government representatives, other relevant departments such as Housing, Water and Sanitation, Health, the Environment and the Commission to discuss how to enhance the effectiveness of municipalities and other local government authorities."