The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) said on Monday that it, too, would look into a social media post depicting Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as an ape after the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it would investigate the origin of the post.
News24 previously reported that SAHRC head advocate Tseliso Thipanyane said the probe had been handed over to its Western Cape branch after the images were widely spread on social media and it was not clear who the perpetrator was.
On Monday, the CGE said it was outraged by "various social media posts", including one allegedly made by one Danie Herselman, saying freedom of expression should not occur in violation of the rights of others.
"The commission notes that many of these posts have racist and sexist undertones and have been used to isolate and undermine her as a member of the National [Coronavirus] Command Centre (NCCC) team as she executes her duties in the [NCCC] during this coronavirus pandemic," it said in a statement.
"The CGE is tasked by the Constitution and an act of Parliament to promote gender equality and the status of women in an effort to ensure that the rights of South Africans are upheld. It is thus for this reason that the CGE seeks to look into the matter of the social media post and ensure that human dignity and aspects pertaining to the Bill of Rights were not contravened."
No right is absolute, the commission said, and freedom of expression "does not rank higher than equality".