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Media Statement: SAHRC welcomes apology by Eastern Cape MEC of Education
Attention: Editors and Reporters
11 April 2013
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has welcomed the apology tendered by the Eastern Cape MEC of Education, Mr Mandla Makupula, following statements he is alleged to have made to a group of students on the 9 March 2013. Mr
Makupula is alleged to have said the following:
  • “No child... who is still dependent on their parents for food and shelter, has any rights.”

  • “I asked myself what was wrong with that boy. His father did go to the initiation school, but because of the rights now, he did not want to go there himself ... I wish he had been my child, I would have hit him on the head with a knobkerrie and he would have gone to that initiation school crying.”  (In reference to a boy in the Eastern Cape who initiated legal proceedings against his father after being forced to attend initiation school)

  • “Some of the things said by learners here left me wondering as I do not think it was you speaking ... some of you were more eloquent and articulate standing here at this podium. I could see some things are too much advanced for you to know and say here.” (In response to the addresses delivered by the learners)

These statements evoked widespread public outcry, culminating in a complaint being laid with the Commission against the MEC. The SAHRC conducted a preliminary investigation and elected to write to Mr Makupula, indicating the nature and extent of the alleged violation and recommending that he apologise and unconditionally retract the statement.

In response, the MEC, requested a meeting with the Commission to discuss these issues. As a consequence of these proceedings, the MEC has signed a statement indicating that

  1. "I understand the offensive nature of my statements
  2. I understand that the statements undermine the human rights of children in South Africa and are contrary to the dictates of the Bill of Rights;
  3. Notwithstanding the fact that I understand and appreciate that my statements caused widespread offence, and undermined the human rights of children in South Africa, I would like to record that it was never my intention to do so;
  4. I hereby accordingly unequivocally retract the said statements I made; and
  5. I further unconditionally apologise for the statements I made."

The SAHRC welcomes the willingness of the MEC to engage and appeals to those in public office to refrain from making statements that violate the rights in the Constitution.  Instead these officials should use public platform to communicate in a manner that respects and uphold the rights of others including children.

Issued by:
Isaac Mangena
Head: Communications
SA Human Rights Commission

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]

- See more at: http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/index.html#sthash.vQme5ODl.dpuf

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