SAHRC finds no evidence of religious discrimination in Limpopo premier's office

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The SAHRC has cleared Limpopo politicians of religious discrimination.
The SAHRC has cleared Limpopo politicians of religious discrimination.
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  • The SAHRC has cleared a Limpopo official of wrongdoing after investigating allegations of religious discrimination.
  • Nehawu had alleged that Nana Manamela discriminated against staff who went to the Zion Christian Church.
  • The provincial government welcomed the outcome of the investigation.

Limpopo deputy director-general Nana Manamela has been cleared by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) of allegations of practising religious discrimination in the office of the premier.

Speaking to News24 this week, the commission's provincial manager, Victor Mavhidula, said the allegations could not be substantiated.

"We did not find any evidence to substantiate the allegations. We interviewed all the relevant people involved, including the deputy director-general and the [trade] union," Mavhidula said.

READ | Limpopo premier digs heels amid calls to quit

The commission launched the investigation after complaints by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) that Manamela, who is in charge of corporate management services in the office of the premier, was practising discrimination against staff members who belonged to the Zion Christian Church (ZCC).

Manamela was alleged to have told some staff members that she doesn't want "members of the ZCC in the office".

ZCC is one of the dominant churches in the province, with its headquarters in Moria, outside Polokwane, where more than a million people gather during the Easter weekend every year.

The investigation was initially abandoned after the commission cited interference with processes and procedures by the director-general, Nape Nchabeleng.

Denied

Nchabeleng denied the allegations at the time. The provincial government said Nchabeleng did not intervene at all.

Nehawu branch chairperson Norman Mavhunga expressed shock that the investigation was completed and its outcome made public without the knowledge of the union.

He said the only time the union was consulted by the commission during the investigation was when it was requested to avail witnesses during the lockdown period.

He described the investigation as "totally unfair" because not all witnesses, including union officials, were interviewed.

"The information available was deliberately ignored by the commission," Mavhunga charged.

But acting government spokesperson Mamogo Ntuli said: "The office of the premier is pleased that the matter has finally been concluded as the SAHRC confirmed that, as per its determination, the allegations were without any merits and therefore dismissed.

"The office wishes to reiterate that no violation of any fundamental rights will be tolerated in the provincial administration and is committed to uproot it in whatever form it manifests itself."

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