SAHRC hearings into the July unrest continue


The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is expected to continue with the National Investigative Hearings into the July 2021 unrest, which erupted mainly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The unrest caused billions of rands in damage to infrastructure and businesses and hundreds of lives were lost during the violence that erupted.

The SAHRC said this leg of the hearings which get underway today will focus on Gauteng, however more evidence will also be presented from the perspective of KwaZulu-Natal.

“The Hearing Panel is due to hear testimony from survivors, various community members as well as industry players in commerce, private security and State officials.

“The subject matter of this hearing is a matter of national concern and implicates various rights such as the right to security, the right to be free from all forms of violence, the right to not to have one’s possessions seized and the right to life,” the Commission said.

The SAHRC previously said it will “inquire into, make findings, report on and make recommendations and/or directives” concerning:

The causes of the July unrest, with particular focus on Gauteng Province and KwaZulu-Natal province.The causes of the alleged racially motivated attacks and killings following the unrest.The causes of the apparent lapses in law enforcement by state security agencies, particularly the SAPS and the role of private security companies in the unrest.The social, economic, spatial and political factors prevalent in the various affected areas and the extent to which these played a role in the unrest.

The SAHRC explained that the hearings are in line with its mandate to ensure that human rights are observed and respected in the country.

“Our Constitution is founded on the principle of accountability. The Commission’s mandate is, among others, to monitor and assess the observance of human rights in the Republic. Ultimately it falls on the Commission in terms of the Constitution of the Republic to investigate and report on issues where human rights have been violated and to take steps to secure appropriate redress,” the commission said.

The hearings are expected to continue until next Friday, March 4.