SAHRC statement on burning of Mangaung City Hall

What remains of one of Bloemfontein's heritage sites. Credit: Obakeng May (Facebook)

The South African Human Rights would like to express its extreme concern about the destruction of Mangaung City Hall in Bloemfontein on 21 June 2017.

“The SAHRC supports the constitutionally guaranteed right of people to protest and further supports the rights of workers to organize and protest around their rights. However, the Commission is unequivocal that in exercising their civil and political right to protest people should not violate the rights of others, nor engage in the destruction of property and public infrastructure,” said Advocate Bongani Majola, Chairperson of the SAHRC.
Two wrongs do not make a right.

The destruction of public property has a direct bearing on the provision of basic social services and ultimately on the enjoyment of socio-economic rights. The recent report by the Auditor General indicates that many municipalities are already unable to provide basic services. The destruction of public property further exacerbates the delivery of services as those resources could be used to give effect to socio-economic rights, such as housing, water, and education, among others.

The SAHRC would like to encourage all who exercise their right to protest to utilize lawful means, including seeking assistance from institutions established to support democracy, such as the Chapter 9 bodies.

The Commission further urges organizations and individuals to attempt to address their concerns in a constructive manner, and not resort to destruction of public property, nor engage in activities that violate the rights of others or which hinder municipalities’ capacity to deliver on socio-economic rights.

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission.