HRC fails the poor, De Lange

The Human Rights Commission was doing very little to help the poor access their rights, the ad hoc committee on the review of Chapter Nine institutions heard yesterday.

The Human Rights Commission was doing very little to help the poor access their rights, the ad hoc committee on the review of Chapter Nine institutions heard yesterday.

Speaking during the justice department's submission to the committee, Deputy Minister of Justice Johnny de Lange said the commission had failed to fulfil its mandate.

"The original idea was that the commission would give service to marginalised people to help them exercise their rights.

"Only a small percentage of their budget is being utilised for helping the poor," he said.

De Lange said the commission had instead shifted its focus to high profile cases.

"One such example is the investigation on racism in the media," he said.

The committee is assessing all Chapter Nine institutions to determine whether they are still relevant.

The institutions are meant to support constitutional democracy and are named after the section of the constitution which established them up.

The commission and the public protector, both of which fall under the justice department, have already appeared before the committee.

During their appearances, most Chapter Nine institutions attributed their lack of effectiveness to the limited interaction between them and Parliament's portfolio committees. They called for a special parliamentary committee on Chapter Nine institutions to be set up. - Sapa

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