South Africa: Commission for Gender Equality Calls for Investigation On Inhumane Treatment of Some of Looters

press release

The insurgents that broke out in the country on the 13th of July 2021 has seen many shops and malls mainly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng being looted. The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)condemns any form of looting that ultimately will have a negative impact to the food security and stability of the country. Inevitably, this can also scare foreign direct investment (FDI). It is for this reason that the Commission denounces such acts.

"That, being said, as a human rights institution, the CGE cannot put a blind eye to various videos circulating in the social media platforms wherein men, women, the elderly and children were treated in an inhumane manner for stealing. The Commission does not condone any form of stealing, however degrading people and dehumanizing them does not also make it less of a crime. There are many ways of punishing people without having their rights infringed as purported in the videos that we have seen", Said Ms Tamara Mathebula, Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality.

Equally, we were appalled by the unfortunate incident of women who were made to swim in something that looked like water/alcohol spillage. No matter how angry those who made those women to do such an act allegedly in Mamelodi Mall, it cannot be that women were objectified or demeaned in such a manner. Those women in the videos are mothers, sisters, and aunts to many. Imagine the humiliation they will suffer for having been subjected to such acts.

It is for this reason that the Commission calls for investigations in these incidents in order to have a punitive measure against those who have found to have erred in the process. "The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in Chapter 2 guarantees everyone rights. And those rights extend to the looters too. The law must be applied but not in the manner in which people had their dignity and bodily integrity removed", Ms Mathebula added.

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