The first witness to take the stand at day four of the South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) July unrest investigative hearing, Melanie Veness, is currently testifying.
Veness is the CEO of the Pietermaritzburg and Midlands Chamber of Business.
On Wednesday, the SAHRC heard an emotional testimony from Nketselelo Mkhize, who was among a number of people who got shot while making their way through Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 July.
Mkhize said he was transporting nine people from Cornubia to KwaMashu when he took a shortcut through Phoenix.
While driving his double cab, he noticed the road was blocked by burning tyres, and that large groups of Indian men had gathered.
One group of around 20 people stopped his vehicle and said they wanted to check his vehicle. They then proceeded to call Mkhize and his friends “Zuma’s people” and “monkeys”.
While he was leaving, one of the younger men struck Mkhize’s car with an axe, before shots were fired.
Three of Mkhize’s friends died.
Since the incident, Mkhize says he has been unable to sleep without pills, and that medical expenses have hit him hard.
The SAHRC also heard Mzwandile Magwaza’s testimony. Magwaza was critical of the hearings, saying talking about what transpired in Phoenix “is not taking us anywhere”.