HRC rejects 'asleep at the wheel' claims by Afrikanerbond

The SA Human rights Commission says it is shocked at the Afrikanerbond's assertion that the commission is not tackling racism.
The SA Human rights Commission says it is shocked at the Afrikanerbond's assertion that the commission is not tackling racism.
Image: Borislav Marinic/123RF

The SA Human Rights Commission has expressed shock at the Afrikanerbond’s allegations that it is "asleep at the wheel and failing to take action against racism".

The Afrikaner organisation had earlier this week penned an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, stating that it was "deeply concerned about the non-functioning of the SAHRC".

"After various complaints in the past few years, it has unfortunately been our experience that the SAHRC is not qualified to carry out the mandate or to comply with or perform its duties and activities as set out in the constitution.

"Above all, the SAHRC has heinously neglected its duties to act preventatively and to be actively and earnestly consistent in its approach to efficiently confront racism and racist conduct, particularly hate speech," the organisation's chief secretary, Jan Bosman, said in the letter.

Bosman accused the commission of failing to act, particularly in cases involving Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama and Economic Freedom Fighters head Julius Malema.

Responding to the criticism, the SAHRC said: "The commission is both surprised and gravely concerned that the Afrikanerbond appears unaware of the extensive work undertaken by the SAHRC in fulfilment of its constitutional obligations - reported on in full and released to the public on December 10 2018, just three days prior to the release of the Afrikanerbond’s statement. 

"Had Mr Bosman read the SAHRC’s Trends Analysis Report – or any of the substantive reports on human rights produced by the commission - he would have been apprised of human rights violations and the findings of the SAHRC over the past five years, and of the extensive work undertaken by the commission in fulfilment of its broad constitutional mandate to protect, promote and monitor the attainment of human rights in South Africa.

"Furthermore, the report could have shed invaluable insights into the opportunities, challenges and gaps identified by the commission which affect its commitment to strengthening protections, and deepening understanding, of human rights."

The commission pointed out that just days prior to Bosman publishing the open letter, it had approached the Equality Court on complaints related to Mngxitama’s utterances, particularly where he threatened to kill whites in this country.

It had instigated litigation against him in the Equality Court.

The commission said it would be happy to meet the Afrikanerbond to assure them of its competency to fulfil its mandate.

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