LIVE BLOG: Day 1 of SAHRC’s July unrest investigative hearing

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South Africa may finally get some answers regarding the devastating July riots that swept through KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng. 

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will on Monday be conducting a national investigative hearing, to address the concerns and information gathered, and will provide recommendations and directives. 

The SAHRC conducted site inspections in both provinces earlier this year, as well as a national imbizo

Today’s hearing is part of a series that will last until 3 December. 

The investigation hearing will look into the following points: 

  • The cause of the unrest
  • The causes of allegedly racially motivated attacks and killings
  • Apparent lapses in law enforcement by state security agencies, especially the South African Police Service, as well as the role of private security companies
  • The social, economic, spatial and political factors present in the affected areas, and to what extent these aspects played a role in the unrest.

WATCH: JHB burning amid ‘Gauteng Shutdown’ protests

Damaging riots during a pandemic 

The 8-to-19 July riots results in more than 330 people losing their lives, and cost R25 billion in damages.

“The unrest has indeed deepened unemployment, poverty and rampant socio-economic inequality within South Africa,” the SAHRC said. 

“The unrest accordingly exacerbated, amongst other things, inequality between certain communities, unemployment levels, poverty, hunger and food insecurity.”

And during a crippling pandemic further deepening dismal unemployment figures and a struggling economy, the July riots threatened to cause irreparable damage. 

Racism and orchestration

The SAHRC said there was also significant concern that many communities who took to the streets to protect their neighbourhoods and businesses used excessive force, racial profiling, assaults, arson, and killings in some instances.  

The SAHRC will also be critically investigating suggestions that the riots were orchestrated, that they were highly organised and instigated, and why authorities were not able to adequately prepare, as has been suggested.

WATCH: Chaos a ‘ticking time bomb’ we should have seen coming

Watch the proceedings below:

Compiled by Nica Richards.

Source: citizen