2011 07 08 – AfriForum asks UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur’s help after proof that Police intimidates Madonsela
By Alana Bailey on July 8, 2011
[Photo: Mail & Guardian]
AfriForum has sent an urgent request to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, in which she is asked to demand of the South African government that the government protect the Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela, against police intimidation. AfriForum’s request follows after the newspaper The Star today published documents that prove that the South African Police Service (SAPS) indeed are busy investigating Adv Madonsela.
In terms of the UN’s “Declaration on Human Rights Defenders”, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders has the mandate to intervene internationally when “human rights defenders” are being intimidated, harassed or slandered. As the UN’s definition of “human rights defenders” also includes all who endeavour to ensure healthy government practices and combat the abuse of power and corruption, it definitely falls within the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur to ensure that the South African Public Protector is protected against police intimidation.
In terms of her mandate, the UN Special Rapporteur is able to send an urgent letter of appeal to the South African government to request that steps should be taken to ensure the safeguarding of the Public Protector.
According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, his organisation decided to call for international assistance because the South African government continues denying the intimidation campaign and the police investigation, rather than to take action to ensure that the Public Protector is protected against those targeting her and her office.
Kriel added that AfriForum has inter alia informed the UN Special Rapporteur that the current police investigation against Madonsela is but one element of a much broader intimidation campaign, aimed at preventing the Public Protector from continuing to expose the unlawful awarding of lease agreements in the SAPS. The UN Special Rapporteur has also been informed by AfriForum about the unlawful raid conducted by the SAPS on the Public Protector’s offices and that suspicion exists that illegal access to the computer of a senior investigative official of the Public Protector’s office had been obtained by the SAPS. In addition the Special Rapporteur has been told that this is not the first example of the SAPS trying to intimidate people whose legal conduct is not to their liking. The journalist, Mzilikazi wa Africa, for example was arrested in 2010 within days of publishing an article criticising General Cele,” Kriel said.