CRL Rights Commission kicks off hearings on unrest in Durban

EFF supporters march through Phoenix to register their grievances against the killing of black people during recent unrest. A hearing into the unrest started in Durban on Wednesday.
EFF supporters march through Phoenix to register their grievances against the killing of black people during recent unrest. A hearing into the unrest started in Durban on Wednesday.
Image: Mluleki Mdletshe

Investigative hearings into recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) got under way in Durban on Wednesday.

The commission said in a statement on Tuesday that last month’s unprecedented conflict and the resultant deaths required it to facilitate mediation and conflict resolution among the affected communities.

Most of KZN and parts of Gauteng were thrown into chaos after days of violence and looting in which more than 320 people lost their lives, with the township of Phoenix making headlines for the high level of violence and deaths recorded.

Commission communications manager Mpiyakhe Mkholo told TimesLIVE on Wednesday that the hearings would be conducted virtually, with individuals appearing only in camera.

“Family members of the victims came forward stating that they did not know who killed their loved ones. Therefore they felt their lives could also be in danger during the proceedings,” he said.

Among those who would provide evidence were representatives of the black and Indian communities in Phoenix, women-led organisations and various religious leaders.

The hearings on Wednesday and Thursday, led by its chairperson Prof David Mosoma, would first focus on the events that happened in Phoenix, before shifting to other areas affected by the unrest, Mkholo said.

“We wanted to avoid a ‘helicopter approach’, whereby we try to cover every area in one week. This is impossible and in addition, we would end up with communities dissatisfied with how the hearings will have been conducted.

“For now we decided to start with Phoenix and assess how many stakeholders, affected families and organisations will be available for the commission. We want to respect the individuals and the challenges they face, and give everybody a chance.”

Communities from Bhambayi, Zwelisha, KwaMashu and Amaoti would also be heard, he added.

TimesLIVE


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