Mkhize shows images of his wounds

Witness tells commission how Phoenix riots left him in a coma

Refugee Mkhize, who was allegedly shot during the July unrest, says no-one helped them

Bulelani Nonyukela Junior audio producer
Refugee Mkhize was the first witnesses to testify before the SAHRC panel on Wednesday.
Refugee Mkhize was the first witnesses to testify before the SAHRC panel on Wednesday.
Image: Youtube

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) hearing at Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal entered its third day yesterday.

The first witness before the panel was Refugee Mkhize, who said he was a victim of the July unrest. He told the commission he had been shot and in a coma for three weeks and a few days.

He showed images of his wounds to the commission and the media.

He also expressed discontent with another witness, Sham Maharaj, who appeared on Tuesday, saying Maharaj had appeared on his “personal agenda”.

“There was no humanity [in Phoenix] for him [Maharaj] to come here and act as if there was someone who helped us while we were being killed. Every Indian who was on that road was violent, assaulted and killed people.

“This thing was properly organised, because they were even using security companies from Phoenix and alerting each other how many people they have killed,” Mkhize claimed.


He urged the media to use images taken in Phoenix when reporting on the events to avoid misleading the public.

He concluded his testimony by saying, “hopefully, we will get justice and regain trust in the police and the courts”. 

The second witness on the stand was Mzwandile Magwaza.

“Any black person who was in Phoenix that day was met with hardship,” he told the hearing. 

So far, victims and community forum representatives have appeared before the panel to testify about the July events. The SAHRC panel expects to hear from three witnesses on Wednesday. State representatives, analysts and journalists will also appear in the coming weeks.

The panel is to inquire into, make findings, report, and make recommendations on:

  • the causes of the unrest;
  • the alleged racially motivated attacks and killings;
  • apparent lapses in law enforcement by state security agencies, particularly the police, and the role of private security companies; and 
  • the social, economic, spatial and political factors prevalent in the affected areas and the extent to which these played a role.

The hearings will continue until December 3.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.