South Africa News

Advocate Makhubela removed from fire inquiry over xenophobic comments

Advocate Thulani Makhubela, a commissioner accused of xenophobic comments and being a pro-Operation Dudula, has been removed from the Commission of Inquiry into the Usindiso Building where 77 people died when a fire broke out in the shelter in August.

This comes after the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) submitted the application where it accused Makhubela of being xenophobic, following his series of tweets on platform X, expressing his support for the Dudula movement.

SERI said Makhubela would not provide efficient input as he has shown support for a violent stance on foreigners.

Commissioner Makhubela was appointed as one of the two additional members to assist the chairperson in conducting the inquiry and in preparing the report of the Commission. This also included probing circumstances that led to the fire.

Delivering the ruling on Wednesday in Joburg, the chairperson of the inquiry, Justice Sisi Khampepe removed Makhubela as commissioner and said that he would not bring a significant impact on the inquiry, given his stance and support for the Dudula movement which has so far unleashed violence on foreign nationals.

“Having regard to the foregoing, I am satisfied that a case has been made out for the recusal of Commissioner Makhubela. In the premises, I rule that Commissioner Makhubela is recused as a Commissioner of the Commission,” she said.

Speaking to the media, Candice Pillay, an attorney from Norton Rose Fulbright, a law firm representing the survivors, said she was relieved now that the ruling has been handed down in favour of the residents.

“I think on behalf of the residents, they had several concerns knowing that Commissioner Makhubela will not be considering the evidence that is going to be presented in the commission,” she said.


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