Joint Media Statement:
The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission or the SAHRC) and the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma held a joint meeting to discuss possible areas of collaboration to help in the furtherance of human rights against the backdrop of the Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Besides Hon Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (Minister for CoGTA) and Adv Bongani Majola (Chairperson of the SAHRC), other attendees were Hon Mr Obed Bapela (Deputy Minister of CoGTA), Commissioners of the SAHRC and senior staff members from both entities.
The meeting was held following a submission by the SAHRC to Minister Dlamini-Zuma regarding aspects of the Regulations governing the National State of Disaster that were published in March 2020. Among others, the meeting discussed the issue of criminalisation of offences related to Covid-19 regulations, evictions, blacklisting of creditors and the impact of other Covid-19 measures on human rights.
The SAHRC and Minister Dlamini-Zuma have agreed to establish an engagement mechanism between the SAHRC and CoGTA. The mechanism will consist of a technical committee that will assist Minister Dlamini-Zuma and Commissioners of the SAHRC to engage on and sort out issues at an early stage, before they develop into problems.
Among others, the mechanism will deal with issues relating to COVID-19 measures (including regulations, directions etc.) and their impact on human rights. Both parties hope that this mechanism will assists government efforts to ensure that COVID-19 measures it adopts are consistent with human rights. It was also agreed that the engagement mechanism would also deal with human rights issues in general within the context of the work of the Department, including issues of service delivery, especially of water and sanitation, housing and other human rights at the local government level. In this regard, it was agreed that a meeting be held in future involving local government representatives, other relevant departments such as Housing, Water & Sanitation, Health, the environment and the Commission to discuss how to enhance the effectiveness of municipalities and other local government authorities.
Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Cell: 082 645 8573 email@example.com
Mlungisi Mtshali – COGTA Spokesperson Cell: 082 088 506