The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has been asked to investigate a complaint regarding the right to equality at the University of Pretoria.
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The complaint was lodged a few days before a group of concerned academics and staff members told The Citizen that the university still has a deeply rooted culture of racism. According to information received, the SAHRC got the complaint on October 13, 2016. The complaint details the following issues:
- On September 20, a university security guard brandished a taser, waving it at protesting students who were not being violent;
- The university hired “mercenaries from conflict zones in Africa”;
- Education should not be commodified or corporatised;
- Video footage allegedly showing AfriForum students physically manhandling another student and threatening students with violence, verbally and in writing;
- A photo of AfriForum members who had been given permission to occupy the gated space sealing off the voting station during the student representative council (SRC) elections a few weeks ago in the piazza; and
- A photo and video of an AfriForum member allegedly handing papers to someone inside a tent, which raised suspicions about the voting process in SRC council elections.
The SAHRC said it would first assess “whether the complaint falls within the mandate of the commission or whether it should be dealt with by another organisation, institution, statutory body or institution created by the constitution or any applicable legislation”.
The commission is a state institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is mandated to protect and assess the observance of human rights in South Africa and was established to investigate prima facie violations of human rights as contained within the Bill of Rights, which is chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996.