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South African Human Rights Commission

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) was inaugurated in October 1995 as an independent chapter nine institution. It draws its mandate from the South African Constitution by way of the Human Rights Commission Act of 1994.[1]


The SAHRC is tasked with monitoring, both pro-actively and by way of complaints brought before it, violations of human rights and seeking redress for such violations. It also has an educational role.[1]


Seven commissioners were appointed for a seven-year term in 2009/2010, namely Adv Lawrence Mushwana, Dr Pregaluxmi Govender, Ms Lindiwe Mokate, Adv Bokankatla Malatji, Adv Loyiso Mpumlwana, Ms Janet Love (part-time) and Dr Danfred Titus (part-time). Mushwana, who was previously the Public Protector, was elected Chairperson and Govender was elected Deputy Chairperson in October 2009.[2][3][4] In July 2010, the National Assembly's justice committee decided unanimously that Mpumlwana's failure to disclose a civil judgement against him during the nomination process meant that he was not fit and proper to serve on the SAHRC.[5]

In February 2014, Advocate Mohamed Shafie Ameermia was appointed commissioner focusing on housing and access to justice.[3]


Trade union Solidarity has criticised the commission for what it claims is racial bias and prejudice. A comparative study revealed that the SAHRC is much more likely to self-initiate investigation where the perpetrator is white, and that it is more lenient in its punishment of black perpetrators.[6][7]

Accusations of racial double standards

Complaints were laid at the SAHRC against controversial politician Julius Malema regarding several statements he had made. Malema had said "kill the Boer" (Boer meaning white South African/Afrikaner), that he "was not calling for the slaughter of whites, yet" and had made racist remarks against Indian South Africans, accusing them of exploiting black people. In March 2019 the SAHRC stated that Malema's comments were not found to be hate-speech, claiming to have found no basis in law for Malema's comments to be ruled as hate speech.[8] This was despite Malema being found guilty in 2011 by the Johannesburg High Court of hate speech for singing "Shoot the Boer".[9]

Dr. Shanelle Van Der Berg of the SAHRC justified the SAHRC's ruling on Malema by stating that the council applies different thresholds of what constitutes hate speech depending on the race of the alleged perpetrator, due to the nation's history.[10] Dr Van Der Berg also claimed that the unequal treatment of perpetrators depending on their ethnicity, with comments by whites being punished more severely, was in line with the South African constitution.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "About the SAHRC - Overview". South African Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  2. ^ "SAHRC Elects New Chairperson and Deputy". Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Office of the Commissioners". Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  4. ^ Mataboge, Mmanaledi (9 October 2009). "To err is human, says Mushwana". Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Advocate not fit and proper to serve on HRC". 29 July 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  6. ^ Brink, Eugene; Mulder, Connie (2017-04-05). "How the response to black and white racism differs - Solidarity". Politicsweb. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  7. ^ Mulder, Connie (2017-04-10). "Letter to the Editor: Solidarity does have an axe to grind". Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  8. ^ "SAHRC finds Malema comments referred to commission not hate speech". News24. 27 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Malema guilty of hate speech". TimesLIVE.
  10. ^ "The SAHRC Joke | South Africa (2019)". 27 March 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 16 October 2019, at 01:05
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