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The Secretariat

The Secretariat is entrusted with the implementation of the organisational strategy of the Commission, and is led by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize. As the head of the executive, the CEO, with the support of approximately 150 staff members, executes the mandate of the Commission. The secretariat has offices in all nine provinces, and a Head Office in Johannesburg.


Vusumuzi Mkhize

Chief Executive Officer

Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize holds an MBA degree from the De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. Prior, he obtained Batchelor of Education (Honours) and Batchelor of Arts both from Unisa. Before then he obtained Primary Teachers Diploma from Indumiso College of Education.
Mr Mkhize was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the South African Human Rights Commission on 27 March 2023.
He is a former Director General of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture where he served from 2017 to 2022. Prior to that, served as the Chief Director as well Deputy Director General of the Department of Home Affairs. He also served as District Director at the Department of Education in Gauteng. He is a strategist who brings a lot of experience in management, leadership, organisational development and change (turn around).
Mr Mkhize has been passionate about education, human development and well-being of others from an early age. And as such is adamant to lead the Commission in conjunction with Commissioners and staff to tackle some of the prevalent human rights challenges facing the country. Racism, poverty, inequality, high level of violence especially against women and children are some of the immediate challenges that require urgent attention and must be uprooted.
“I believe that one can make a contribution towards advancing the realisation of human rights and development of a culture of human rights in the country for a better life of all citizens and a prosperous South Africa.”

Adv Chrystal Pillay

Chief Operations Officer

Adv Chrystal Pillay holds a Master of Laws (LLM) Degree from the University of South Africa. Prior, she obtained her BPROC and LLB Degrees respectively, from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. She is an admitted Advocate of the High Court.
Adv Pillay was appointed Chief Operations Officer (COO) at the South African Human Rights Commission on 1 November 2023.
She was the Director Legal Services at the Office of the Military Ombud, within the Department of Defence from 2013 to 2023. Prior to that, she served as Senior Quality Assurance Manager at the Public Protector SA from 2006 to 2013. She also served as a Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at the University of South Africa from 2000 to 2006. As a member of the senior executive for a number of years, she has vast experience in managing the daily operations of an institution, in legal and policy development and in change management.  She also brings to this position extensive knowledge and experience in the provision of strategic direction and operational leadership.
Adv Pillay has a deep passion for contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights and dignity for all; and is equally passionate to advance the importance of inculcating a culture of human rights in the country. She is zealous to form part of the leadership of the Commission working synergistically with the CEO, Commissioners and staff to execute the daily operational functions of the Commission.

About us

Understanding PAIA

The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

Sentinel House, Sunnyside Office Park, 32 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa

011 877 3600 (Switchboard)