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THOSE THREATENING SAHRC MUST BE HUNTED & BROUGHT TO BOOK – COPE

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Congress of the People urges government to speak up for the South African Human Rights Commission as it comes under threat in Kwa Zulu-Natal. It cannot be that every time a very serious matter, in the sphere and jurisdiction of a Chapter 9 institution, arises for investigation, that some people can take it upon themselves to threaten or intimidate its officials with impunity. That is intolerable.

For too long Chapter 9 institutions have not received the protection from government that their special status warrants and deserves. In fact, some senior politicians have regularly taken cheap pot shots at the Public Protector’s Office, for instance, without any justification and, alarmingly, without any consequences. Now, the SAHRC is under threat by rogue elements because they do not want this body to investigate the alledged words spoken by King Zwelithini leading to the xenophobic attacks that followed soon after.

These rogue elements must know that the investigation will be in the best interest of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelitini and indeed of the whole country. It must proceed without hindrance. The country wants to know the truth. It is only the truth that can set King Zwelithini free. Only an impartial investigation, by a trusted institution of the state, will remove the dark clouds hanging over his head.

We are heartened by the determination of the Human Rights Commission, the threats notwithstanding, to do its constitutionally mandated work.

Cope calls upon the Ministers of Police and of State Security to investigate these threats and to arrest these rogue elements who threaten the Commission. We cannot, in our constitutional democracy, have a situation where people, acting with unlawful aggression, will decide which case must be investigated and which one not.

Our country’s image is already terribly tainted. We cannot inflict more self injury on ourselves.

President Zuma also has a significant duty to speak out on this matter. He must put his full weight behind this investigation.

Issued by Dennis Bloem on behalf of COPE, Dennis Bloem is COPE’s national spokesperson

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