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MALAMULELE: Protesters should respect rights of others including children to school

20 January 2015.

Attention: All Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission would like to express its concern over the situation in Malamulele, Limpopo, where, as reported in some radio stations children were forced out of schools, and by those who claim to be in a struggle to force government to establish a separate municipality for Malamulele district.

Residents are demanding that government should grant them their own municipality, separate from the Thulamela Municipality which they accuse of providing better services to the Thohoyandou area and little or nothing for the residents of Malamulele.

The Commission understands and respects the rights of any individual, including the residents of Malamulele to engage in protests as and when such a need arises. Inherent in the right to protest is respect for the rights of other individuals. Children have rights to education conferred to them by the same Constitution that confers the right to protest to every individual. No right is superior to other rights and no individual therefore can claim to be exercising a right where such an action violate the rights of others. The forceful removal of children from school is a violation of a right and an offence punishable by law.

We appeal and urge all of those who are engage in this protest for the establishment of their own Municipality to do so without violating the rights of other individuals including damage to property.

The Commission will continue to engage the residents and government to expedite the resolution of the dispute between them before the situation cause anarchy in Malamulele and the surrounding areas.

The Commission has since last year also launched an own initiative investigation into the alleged lack of, or inadequate service delivery, some of which, if correct, borders on violation of socio economic rights.

While the Commission will continue to monitor the protest and where necessary call for intervention to end violation of the rights of children or any other individual, we appeal for the respect of the rights of others.
The Commission also appeal to the authorities concerned especially COGTA to do everything possible and in their powers to end this impasse as matter of extreme urgency.


Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission
Isaac Mangena

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