President Jacob Zuma has until July 4 to respond to complaints of hate speech laid against him at the Human Rights Commission (HRC) by the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), HRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena told News24.
“I can confirm that several complaints were laid against President Zuma by the FF Plus and others [in connection with] a statement he made regarding the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck causing the problems in the country,” Mangena said.
The HRC investigated the complaints and sent a letter to Zuma asking him to respond to the investigation.
“We gave him until July 4 to respond,” Mangena said.
In a statement, FF Plus parliamentary spokesperson Advocate Anton Alberts said the development was encouraging, “but it is still a pity that action is only taken after the FF Plus had to request the HRC in April of this year in terms of the Promotion of Access of Information Act process to provide information as to the reasons why no progress had been made with the investigation”.
The complaint was submitted in January last year, shortly after Zuma made the “offending” remarks, Alberts said.
“In the letter to the HRC in April, questions were asked about the commission’s apparent reluctance to investigate Zuma as not one of a number of complaints against the President had been completed in the past two years,” Alberts said.
Alberts said that apart from the responses that the HRC has to provide to the FF Plus, the HRC has to answer why it had allowed Zuma to disregard a clear deadline of May 8 of last year, without having taken action against him. Mangena, however, said the HRC had to consolidate all the complaints against Zuma.
“There is no truth that we are reluctant to investigate. There have been several complains investigated. The reason for the perceived delay was that after the complaint by the FF Plus, there were other complaints and we had to assess all of them and consolidate them into one complaint,” he said. – News24