/ 7 October 2010

Rights commission slams Zille’s ‘wild’ claim

Rights Commission Slams Zille's 'wild' Claim

Claims by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille that the SA Human Rights Commission was a “political hit-squad” for the ANC were untruthful and an attack on the integrity of the organisation, the commission said on Thursday.

“The SA Human Rights Commission refutes as untruthful the claims and attacks on its integrity by the Western Cape Premier and Democratic Alliance leader, Helen Zille,” spokesperson Vincent Moaga said.

“The commission is of the view that the allegations by Zille that the institution was ‘the ANC political hit-squad’ had no foundation, and lacked the premise on which to factually support such a wild and unsubstantiated claim.”

Zille made her comments after the SAHRC said it was investigating the City of Cape Town’s demolition of shacks built on a fire break in an SA National Parks nature reserve in Hangberg on the slopes of the Sentinel above Hout Bay.

Residents of Hangberg clashed with police a fortnight ago when the city tried to demolish the shacks.

Moaga said the commission had undertaken “upon receipt of a complaint by the community itself a few weeks ago” to conduct a preliminary investigation into the Hout Bay evictions.

‘Dirty tricks’
In her weekly online newsletter, Zille said the decision by the commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the eviction in Hout Bay bordered on politics, was in fact “politically motivated” and was “dirty tricks by the ANC ahead of next year’s general elections”.

“It is a well known fact that the commission had in the past dealt with a number of complaints lodged by various individuals and organisations across the political spectrum,” Moaga said.

“We can name a few of these complaints — the complaint against the cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro by the Young Communist League for his allegedly disparaging cartoon strips depicting President Jacob Zuma and his allies about to rape Lady Justice; complaints against the ANC Youth League president Julius Malema; Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi’s comments that his organisation would kill for Zuma; and a complaint against former and late ANC Youth League President Peter Mokaba for his “kill the boer” slogan.

“The commission wishes to state that its mandate is to defend the Constitution, and is of the view that Zille’s unfounded claims were in bad taste.”

On Wednesday the Department of Environmental Affairs denied it was pressurising SANParks to withdraw from a Western Cape High Court application to remove the squatters from the nature reserve.

SANParks was the first and the City of Cape Town the second applicant in the matter, which is due to be heard in court on October 18.

Asked if political pressure had been brought to bear on SANParks, Sputnik Ratau, spokesperson for Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, told the South African Press Association on Wednesday: “The answer to that question is one word: No.”

Zille accused SANParks of buckling under pressure from the ANC. – Sapa