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Statement on Mayor Speelman Offensive Speech to Members of the SANDF

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Statement on Mayor Speelman Offensive Speech to Members of the SANDF

9th April 2020

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The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is aware and is taking action relating to a video circulating on social media in which the Mayor of Matjhabeng, Mr. Nkosinjani Speelman, in the Free State, refers to members of the Coloured community in Bronville, Welkom, using words that are not only offensive but may also negatively touch on their dignity as human beings. The Commission also notes that its Provincial Office in the Free State had called upon the Mayor to apologise. 

The SAHRC views Mayor Speelman’s utterances in a very serious light. For this reason, the Commission is of the view that Mayor Speelman’s apology would not suffice and has thus initiated a full, own initiative, investigation to be conducted by the Secretariat into the utterances of the Mayor and the report to be presented to Commissioners at the earliest opportunity.

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Having listened to the full video, the Commission is appalled that Mayor Speelman, a government official and community leader, also encouraged soldiers not to hesitate to shoot and to brutalise the people of Bronville. This is a call on the soldiers to violate the Constitution and the rights of the community to life and freedom and security of the person. The Commission condemns this conduct in the strongest terms and hopes that the President, who had earlier painstakingly pleaded with the soldiers and SAPS members not to use violence against, but must assist communities, to hold accountable those who repudiate his instructions in this regard.

The Commission has also been made aware of the community’s complaints relating to poor service delivery impacting on the realisation of their rights. The Commission will launch a full investigation into these once the national lockdown ends. 

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Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

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