Civil society organisations disappointed by Ministry of Police’a failure to respond to letter

Civil society organisations Sonke Gender Justice, Lawyers for Human Rights and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants have given the Ministry of Police to respond to the South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) letter by no later than 31 January.

This is after the deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi, allegedly made xenophobic statements while on a visit to the Hillbrow Police Station in July last year. Mkongi reportedly made passionate remarks which could be seen as xenophobic while accusing foreign nationals of economic sabotage.

“We fought for this country, not only for us but for generations of South Africans to live in harmony in a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa,” said Mkongi on his visit to the police station.

“How can a city in South Africa be 80 per cent foreign nationals? That is dangerous. South Africans have surrendered their own city to the foreigners. The nation should discuss that question…we cannot surrender it to foreign nationals.”

Sonke Gender Justice and Lawyers for Human Rights followed up Mkongi’s remarks by submitting a complaint to the SAHRC, arguing that they are in contravention of specific sections of the Bill of Rights, including the right to equality, dignity, freedom and security of person and the right to freedom of movement and residence. Should the ministry, however, not abide by the SAHRC’s request by the date given, the band of civil society organisations aim to mobilise and call for the immediate dismissal of the deputy minister.

“The disrespect by the Minister of Police, by failing to respond to the SAHRC by the set deadline is of serious concern to LHR and Sonke as we struggle for social justice in South Africa,” Sonke Gender Justice said in a written statement. “We call on the Ministry of Police to respond to the SAHRC’s letter with urgency and no later than 31 January 2018.”


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Tshepiso Mametela

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