Human Rights Commission condemns violence against foreigners

The South African Human Rights Commission says South Africans should remember that foreigners have rights too.

The statement comes after incidents of deadly looting of foreign-owned shops in some Gauteng townships this week.

At least three people were killed in the violence.

“The commission would like to reiterate that every human being inside of the republic – irrespective of ethnic origin or country of birth – has the protection of the rights set out in the Bill of Rights‚” spokesperson Gail Smith said.

“Looting‚ violence and intimidation are not appropriate responses to disaffection and the commission appeals to communities not to act in an unlawful manner‚ nor to infringe on the rights of others‚” she added.

The looting was sparked by claims that some of the shops were selling expired and illicit goods. The Health Ministry announced earlier this week that it was looking into these allegations.

Law enforcement authorities have been conducting raids in some areas‚ seizing illicit goods.

The SAHRC said the allegations were not an excuse for violence.

“While gravely concerned about the alleged sale of expired goods – a practice which is becoming increasingly apparent nationally and in many different kinds of businesses – the commission is of the view that nothing justifies people taking the law into their own hands. An array of organisations‚ including the police‚ are empowered to deal with crimes and practices that violate the law‚” said Smith.

“The Ministry of Health has already indicated that it will be taking steps to deal with business that sell expired foods. The Health Ministry has further requested that the public report these incidents to the relevant authorities‚” she added.

/nc – TimesLIVE