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SAHRC: Hearings are about schoolchildren’s rights‚ not Vuwani

This week’s hearings of the SA Human Rights Commission are not about protests but the effects such actions have on learning‚ commissioner Lindiwe Mokate said on Monday

Mokate told the media‚ before the start of the hearings into the impact protest-related actions on the right to basic education‚ that the commission would like to hear from stakeholders about how the right to education is protected when communities protest.

“We have observed over time what has been happening around the country‚ and a lot of people think this is about Vuwani and it is not‚” she said.

“It is not about Vuwani‚ it is about the actions that have now been with us‚ related to protest‚ for some time. And we looked at what has been happening in the past five years and we also observed that the intensity was growing.”

Mokate said most of the protests which have affected schoolchildren have had nothing to do with education.

“The content of the protest has largely been outside what education is about‚ but it impacted on learners‚” she said.

Most protests‚ she said‚ were about services and the removal of public representatives.

“Children have a right to basic education‚” she said‚ adding that‚ in most instances‚ protests have a negative impact on education.

She said the commission would hear from‚ among others‚ the police‚ the Department of Education and community leaders