PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Header31 January 2014

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) is deeply concerned about the increase of civilian deaths resulting from actions of members of the South Africa Police Service. Some of those deaths have resulted from people exercising their constitutional rights to express their frustration at the government’s failure to respond positively to poor service delivery, especially in previously marginalized communities. 1200 protests per month since 2008, has attributed to negative feelings that the advent of democracy has not delivered basic rights and needs. This says a lot to a country that was during the Apartheid era severely oppressed and accompanied by tolerance for impunity and police brutality. For the record, over the past few weeks, there were 4 killings in Mothutlong, North West; 1 in Durban Deep Roodepoort and 4 in Relea in Limpopo province.

The right to life is protected as non-derogable in the Constitution. This means that while other human rights are not absolute, limitation on the right to life is not permitted by any means. That was recognized by the Constitutional Court (in the Makwanyana case). The Regulation of Gatherings Act (RGA) is a piece of legislation which saw the secrecy and atrocities of apartheid era exposed through the guarantee of freedom of expression in the assembly of people and demonstrations. These killings must stop and HURISA is calling the Minister Nathi Mthethwa and the National Commissioner Ria Piyega to protect civilians from further killings and ensure that a similar Marikana massacre is not repeated in the country. All perpetrators of violations of civilians’ Constitutional rights should be prosecuted and justice should be seen to be done by victims and the affected communities. The Minister and National Commissioner must prioritize a human rights approach training for police to enable them to have a better understanding and facilitation of civilians in demonstrations through the use of RGA. We also

  • call on all stakeholder’s involved in exercising the right to march and demonstrate, including conveners, communities, municipal police, to work together to review the implementation of the RGA and identify challenges, shortcomings  for improvement of the legislation  in an open and democratic society based on freedom, equality and human dignity.

We further

  • Call on all the government departments, national agencies and officials responsible for delivery of economic and social rights, especially for poor communities to accelerate their action in fulfillment of their Constitutional obligations. The government should continue to root out corruption in state institutions as most of the demonstrations are aimed at the expression of resentment delay in the provision of basic services, such as clean water, proper sanitation, health, housing and constructive engagement with communities to address poverty, crime and the high unemployment rate.

HURISA is committed to provide training for stakeholders and affected communities on the provisions of the RGA in efforts to end the death and injury to people participating in marches and demonstrations

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