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After more than a year, the HRC investigation into the hate speech of Pres. Jacob Zuma will continue

Only after the FF Plus had in terms of the PAIA requested the HRC last week to provide information as to the reasons why no progress has been made with its investigations of pres. Jacob Zuma, the HRC has now suddenly informed the party that the investigation of the complaint is indeed going ahead – more than fifteen months after the FF Plus had submitted the complaint.

From a letter received from the HRC, it appears that the FF Plus is the second complainant in the hate speech investigation which originated from the president’s comments about Jan van Riebeeck in January last year.

He said amongst others that the country’s problems started with the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck and that many struggles, wars, deaths, land-grabs and the expropriation of indigenous people’s political and economic power had followed on his arrival.

In the letter the FF Plus had written to the HRC last Friday, it was asked why the commission apparently is unwilling to investigate president Zuma as none of a number of complaints against the president in the last two years had been concluded, and it is not even known whether any complaint was investigated at all.

The FF Plus had requested information from the HRC in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) which would shed light on the complaints against and investigations of the president. This followed after the HRC did not even want to answer the FF Plus’ enquiries about the investigations.

Adv. Alberts said that apart from the answers that the HRC, in terms of the PAIA, has to provide to the FF Plus, it would also like to know why the HRC had allowed the president to clearly disregard a deadline of 8 May last year, without the HRC acting against him.

After the FF Plus had submitted a complaint against the president in January last year, the HRC had initially indicated that it is being investigated and that the president has to respond to the allegations by 8 May. After that nothing had transpired, and the FF Plus’ enquiries were never answered.

From the HRC’s letter of this week, it appears that the president had only responded a couple of weeks ago by requesting ‘more details’ about the complaint against him. The first complainant has to respond to this by Friday 29 April.

Adv. Alberts says he is satisfied that the investigation is eventually going ahead, but that the issue is setting off red lights about the HRC’s willingness to take decisive and urgent action against the president while there is proof that it is being done in other cases.

“The Public Protector (PP) has shown how a Section 9 institution of the Constitution should act to protect South Africans, and the Constitutional Court has confirmed this role in its recent Nkandla judgment.

“It would behoove the HRC to follow this example if it does not want to lose its credibility with and respect of the people of South Africa.

“If the first complainant in the investigation against the president does not react by Friday, the FF Plus will move ahead as the first complainant and will provide all the necessary proof, to which the president has to respond to,” Adv. Alberts said.

 

Contact no.: 082 391 3117 / 083 419 5403

 

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