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Controversy surrounds Khampepe Inquiry Commissioner’s alleged anti-foreigner views

Sameera Casmod |
08 November 2023 | 09:17 CAT
1-min read

Picture: Jo’burg Emergency Services

The ongoing Khampepe Inquiry, tasked with investigating the Albert Street fire in Marshalltown, Johannesburg, has been marred by controversy as the Socioeconomic Rights Institute (Seri) calls for the recusal of Commissioner Advocate Thulani Makhubela due to his purported anti-foreigner sentiments. The commission, already three weeks behind schedule, faces further scrutiny due to its venue’s non-compliance with fire safety standards, hindering the investigation process.

In an interview with Radio Islam International, activist Dr Dale McKinley raised concerns about the commission’s composition and purpose. Dr McKinley highlighted the problematic appointment process, linking it to Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s potential xenophobic stance. He drew parallels between Makhubela’s appointment and the potential repercussions of appointing an individual linked to state capture to the Zondo commission.

Dr McKinley also criticised the commission’s narrow focus, pointing out that the initial mandate to investigate the fire’s causes was insufficient. He emphasised the need for a comprehensive examination of the neglected history and conditions of the building, attributing its plight to the exploitation of impoverished inner-city residents by both political figures and local businesses.

“[The commission needs] to get to the bottom of not just why there was this fire, but the whole history of this building and many others, and why they’re in the state they are in, why they are allowed to be hijacked by people who are taking advantage of poor and desperate individuals,” Dr McKinley said.

Furthermore, Dr McKinley expressed disappointment in the commission’s inadequate representation of the victims, highlighting the exclusion of the Albert Street Mobilisation Committee and various migrant organisations. He underscored the necessity of providing a platform for those affected by the tragedy, emphasising the significance of addressing the broader issue of inadequate housing and inner-city squalor.

The interview shed light on the challenges facing the Khampepe Inquiry, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the systemic issues that perpetuate the marginalisation of vulnerable communities.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.


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