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SAHRC prejudged Maxwele case - Police Ministry

Zweli Mnisi says civil litigation ongoing against SAPS regarding this incident (July 7)

MINISTRY OF POLICE RESPONDS TO SA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION'S RULING ON CHUMANI MAXWELE  

Any apology by the Minister would be tantamount to prejudging the case.

PRETORIA - 07 July 2011.  The Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa is concerned about the approach adopted by South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) regarding the case of Mr Chumani Maxwele. 

According to the SAHRC, they have found that members of the SAPS Presidential Special Protection Unit violated the rights of Mr. Chumani Maxwele of Cape Town. The Commission also recommended Minister Mthethwa personally apologise to Maxwele and take steps to ensure the SAPS acts in terms of the Constitution and the law.

The ministry informed the SAHRC that there was a civil litigation that had been instituted against SAPS regarding this incident; and that the case (case no 21885/10) had been filed in the Cape Town courts.  In fact, in a letter addressed to the SAHRC through one Mr. Eric Mokonyama sent on 28 April 2011 (of which receipt was confirmed by SAHRC), we outlined that, quote: "we are unable to comment on this case pending its finalization by the said High Court."

This case deals with the merits or demerits of a complaint by Mr. Maxwele.  On numerous occasions the Minister has appealed to the SAHRC not to prejudge the outcome of this case and to allow the legal process which Mr Maxwele opted to use to take its cause.  Any apology by the Minister would be tantamount to pre-judging the case.

In addition, the ministry has concerns about the manner in which this investigation was carried out by the Commission and whether all parties; including the Presidential Special Protection Unit personnel were actually afforded opportunities to be heard and put their sides of the stories forward.  The only correspondence we received from SAHRC indicates that they wish the Minister to make an apology and that they have ruled in favour of Mr Maxwele. We have not been given an opportunity to see on what basis the Commission arrived at this decision.

Finally, it would appear the SAHRC does not fully understand the structural reporting lines and operational functions within SAPS. The command and control lies with the National Commissioner of Police and not the Minister.  The question further arises whether the National Commissioner was even provided with an opportunity to answer the allegations leveled by Mr Maxwele.

Statement issued by Zweli Mnisi, Spokesperson to the Minister and Deputy Minister of Police, July 7 2011

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