Mayor Speelman’s Apology is Not Enough, Says SAHRC


On Thursday the South African Human Rights Commission said an apology by Matjhabeng Mayor Nkosinjani Speelman, is not enough.

The Human Rights Commission said th apology would not suffice, confirming that it would launch a full investigation once the national lockdown ends.

“Having listened to the full video, the commission is appalled that Mayor Speelman, a government official and community leader, also encouraged soldiers not to hesitate to shoot and to brutalise the people of Bronville,” the SAHRC said in a statement.

It said, “This is a call on the soldiers to violate the Constitution and the rights of the community to life and freedom and security of the person. The commission condemns this conduct in the strongest terms and hopes that the president – who had earlier painstakingly pleaded with the soldiers and SAPS members not to use violence against, but must assist communities – to hold accountable those who repudiate his instructions in this regard.”

The SAHRC said it had also been made aware of the community’s complaints relating to poor service delivery.

The ANC in the Free State has proceeded to suspend Speelman and said it was embarrassed by what he has done. According to spokesperson for the provincial ANC, Thabo Meeko, an acting mayor will be appointed.

Speelman referred to people in the Coloured community of Bronville as “boesman”, which when translated means “bushman”, a term known to be used by colonialists to describe the Khoi and San hunter-gatherers and trackers they encountered on their raids.

He was addressing the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) ahead of an operation to check whether people were walking around in breach of lockdown directives.