THE South African Human Rights Commission’s hearing into the July 2021 unrest is set to continue on Thursday with important witness testimony, including the boss of the State Security Agency.
The hearing is scheduled to hear testimonies from three witnesses beginning with virtual testimony by Acting Director-General at the State Security Agency, Ambassador Tony Gab Msimanga.
Msimanga’s testimony will then be followed by that of the UPL Cornubia Fire Civil Society Action Group before the final testimony of the day by David Bruce of the Institute for Security Studies.
On Wednesday, the commission’s panel heard evidence from KwaZulu-Natal’s top cop, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, who continued his evidence after he had been unable to do so due to delays to the programme on Tuesday.
In his evidence, Mkhwanazi denied allegations that he was on leave while the province was at the height of the unrest, insisting that on July 18, after the riots had quelled, he asked Police Minister Bheki Cele if it was okay to go on paternity leave.
Mkhwanazi painted a picture of police being understaffed during the unrest, saying policemen in the province were stretched in numbers and working hours during the unrest period, which according to police, occurred between 9-15 July.
Meanwhile, national police commissioner Khehla Sitole on Tuesday could not recall the death toll in Phoenix despite 36 people being killed in the area during the unrest.
Sitole also told the commission that the country’s crime intelligence was unable to pick up early warning signals about the unrest because of a lack of technological advancements, which came down to a lack of resources.