Hearings by the South African Commission on Human Rights (SAHRC) on the July 2021 mayhem in South Africa continue on Wednesday.
At least 350 people were killed when violence broke out in Kwazul Natal and Gauteng shortly after former President Jacob Zuma began serving 15 months in prison for contempt of court on July 8, 2021.
Loss of life, looting of retail centres and malls, and other businesses characterised anxiety.
About 20 trucks on the N3 highway were also burned down. The hearing will investigate the causes of anxiety, its impact on human rights, and cases of racial tension.
South African Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu will testify before the SAHRC today. Zulu will deliver her testimony virtually, as will Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya from the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI), the Hawks.
KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi will continue his testimony on Wednesday due to delays that left the commission unable to complete the day’s task yesterday.
Mkhwanazi denied assertions that he was on leave while the province was at the height of the crisis. He said, on July 18, after the riots had quelled, he asked the police minister if he could proceed on paternity leave.
Four days after giving birth, Mkhwanazi’s wife, who is also a police officer, and the provincial commissioner drove through about thousand kilometres out of the province due to safety concerns. He then returned for duty.
“Nobody knows those sacrifices that I had to make,” he told the commission, “but I did that because I love this job,” he said.
Mkhwanazi said policemen in the province were overstretched during the unrest period, which according to police, occurred between July 9-15.
The regional commander said 281 civilian bodies were picked up during the period, while 26 police officers were left injured. 3,093 suspects linked to the unrest were arrested.
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