The SA Human Rights Commission provincial manager, Buang Jones, was forced to read the riot act to Gauteng MEC for human settlements Lebogang Maile after he totally lost his cool during the Alexandra inquiry on Tuesday.
Chairing the inquiry into the socio-economic crisis in Alexandra, Jones asked Maile on his views about the interactions that happened between the City of Johannesburg and the residents of the township.
Maile told the inquiry that he was of the view that the city had done its interactions in good faith. He added that residents had expressed their concerns with mayor Herman Mashaba but not the city.
“You asked me a question if I doubted them. We are supposed to proceed because I have answered. But it seem you want me to doubt them. I don’t know why I must answer for the city,” Maile explained.
Jones then read out the Human Right Act, which compels all public servants to respect its investigations. But Maile would not have it.
“I cautioned you. This should not be an attempt to intimidate me. Don’t do that [just] because you are Human Rights Commission. I know what [being MEC] means. I took an oath. I know the importance of this institution. That is why I did not hesitate to come here,” he said. “It is either you ask questions, we don’t agree it’s fine. For instance, you are forcing me to say I have doubt [in the city’s interaction with Alexandra residents]. What is that? Don’t treat me like a small boy because you are Human Rights Commission. Human Rights Commission is not God. It is Chapter 9 institution that is subjected to the constitution.”
Maile told Jones that if he felt his utterances were not respectful of the commission, he should then take the matter to court. Jones tried to make Maile understand that his behaviour was disrespectful to the commission.
“Would you say that your utterances and your statement are in keeping with the Section 181 which enjoins you as an MEC to respect the dignity of Chapter 9 institutions?” Jones asked.
But Maile was unfazed.
“This is censoring. Why do you want to censor me? I should not express my views? These are my views. I am saying I don’t agree with what you are saying because it lacks information. How else should I put it? No, you can’t censor me in the name of the constitution and Chapter 9 institution. You are not going to win with me. I don’t know what is the issue, whether o train’a ka nna. You can't. Don’t do that. He banna!”