Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, so they say. No doubt, President Jacob Zuma’s head has never had rest, especially after the Constitutional court dished him a damning judgement on his Nkandla homestead.
This time, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has come knocking on his door following complaints of hate speech laid against him by minor opposition party, the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus).
Speaking to a local daily, HRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena disclosed that Zuma has until the fourth day in the month of July to answer to the complaints.
The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) tendered the complaint in January 2015, shortly after Zuma made the “offending” remarks, accusing him of causing polarization.
Though, the party is happy at last that the commission has finally decided to investigate, it earlier slammed the HRC for its “apparent reluctance’ in following up the case.
FF Plus parliamentary spokesperson Advocate Anton Alberts, who spoke via a statement said the development was encouraging, “but it is still a pity that action is only taken after the FF Plus had to request the HRC in April of this year in terms of the Promotion of Access of Information Act process, to provide information as to the reasons why no progress had been made with the investigation”.
The party’s spokesperson also said that apart from Zuma’s responses, the HRC must provide answers to FF Plus on why it allowed Zuma to disregard a clear deadline of May 8 of last year, without having taken action against him.
HRC Replies The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus)
Meanwhile, the HRC ‘s spokesperson said it is not true that the commission was reluctant to investigate Zuma as there were several complains investigated.
Mangena linked the perceived delay to additional complaints by other people, which the commission had to assess and consolidate into one complaint.
“I can confirm that several complaints were laid against President Zuma by the FF Plus and others [in connection with] a statement he made regarding the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck causing the problems in the country.
We have sent a letter to Zuma asking him to respond to the investigation. We gave him until July 4 to respond,” Mangena said.
Last year, Zuma blamed South Africa’s ills on the country’s first white settler, Jan van Riebeeck, a Dutch administrator who opened the way for European colonization during a fundraising dinner in Cape Town.
“You must remember that a man called Jan van Riebeeck arrived here on 6 April 1652, and that was the start of the trouble in this country. What followed were numerous struggles and wars and deaths and the seizure of land and the deprivation of the indigenous peoples’ political and economic power.”
According to Zuma, Van Riebeeck’s arrival disrupted South Africa’s social cohesion, repressed people and caused wars.