Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
31 Aug 2021
4:42 pm

EFF files criminal charges against SAHRC over alleged forced sterilisations

Narissa Subramoney

Two reports by the SAHRC and CGE refer to women who are HIV positive being sterilised without their knowledge.

Picture for illustrative purposes: Twitter.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have filed criminal charges against the South African Human Rights Council (SAHRC) and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).

Party members sang and danced outside the Rosebank police station as EFF national chairperson Veronica Mente briefed police about the party’s complaint.

The charges relate to alleged forced sterilisation of women in state hospitals. Two reports by the SAHRC and CGE refer to women who are HIV positive being sterilised without their knowledge.

The SAHRC’s report, titled The People Living with HIV Stigma Index: South Africa 2014, states that 7% (476 women) of respondents reported being forcefully sterilised, but SAHRC had no clue who the women were.

The EFF’s Leigh Mathys wrote to the SAHRC requesting the organisation investigate identity of the complainants so they could access justice.

But the legal officer responding to the request passed the buck to the CGE, saying “the investigation and relief sort does not fall within the ambit of the commission’s powers”.

The SAHRC’s response, seen by The Citizen, goes on to say that “proper implementation of the recommendations in the CGE report would address this complaint and the relief that you seek. The commission will thus, in collaboration with the CGE, monitor the implementation of those recommendations”.

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But the CGE’s report into forced sterilisation doesn’t make any findings concerning the women in the SAHRC report.

The EFF said both Chapter Nine institutions not only dropped the ball regarding addressing the alleged human rights violations against women identified, but they must also be criminally charged as accessories after the fact.

“None of these institutions reported these findings to Saps [South African Police Service] or the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority],” said Mathys. 

The CGE’s report referred its findings and recommendations to the Health Professions Council of South Africa. But the EFF said this was inappropriate.

“The Health Department are essentially the perpetrators. How can you leave perpetrators to fix a problem they caused?”

The party said women were subjected to forced sterilisations as recently as last year.

CGE spokesperson Javu Baloyi said they were aware of the EFF’s charges.

“We can’t comment right now because we haven’t seen the complaint. We will release a statement once we have sat down and discussed the matter.”

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