South Africa: Ramaphosa testifies before human rights commission on July 2021 riots

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South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has testified at the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)’s investigative hearings into the July unrest

Ramaphosa took an oath before the commission on Friday morning and began to testify on his "responsibility as head of state" during the deadly riots.

The almost two-week-long unrest led to the widespread looting and damage to property and infrastructure mostly around KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. At least 350 people were killed.

The SAHRC has heard five weeks of oral testimony from various government officials, including ministers and premiers. Chairperson Andre Gaum announced on Friday said that Ramaphosa is expected to give evidence in through out April when the commission reconvenes for the third leg of hearings.

“Considering the extent to which human rights were impacted during the events that occurred between the 8th and 19th of July 2021 in the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the commission exercised its constitutional and statutory mandate to investigate the causes of unrests as well as the impact on human rights,” said Gaum.

"The commission has a large volume of evidence to work with and will not state when its provisional report will be available and the final report. But we can commit every resource available to finalising the report as soon as possible.”

South Africa's economy lost an estimated 3.4 billion dollars from the deadly riots destruction of infrastructure and looting, according to the Presidency.

The hearing is taking place in Sandton, Johannesburg.

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