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Human rights commission launched

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By Sisho Magagula - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-05-Sep-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III has appointed the Commission on Human Rights and Public Administration.

Former Minister of Justice and attorney-at-law, Reverend David Matse heads the Commission, which also constitutes the Integrity Commission in terms of section 242 of the national constitution.

The announcement was made by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ndumiso during a press conference on Friday. Prominent traditional healer-turned pastor, Reverend Grace Masilela of the Nazarene Church has been appointed Deputy Commissioner with four others, namely Princess Sidvumolesihle, Chief Mawandla, Phumelele Thwala and Sabelo Masuku.

Both Thwala and Masuku are qualified lawyers. The minister said the other individuals represent a cross section of local society including gender. Mawandla is chief of Phonjwane area in the Lubombo region. The appointments have been made pursuant to Chapter Six, Part 2 and Section 163 of the constitution. The Ingwenyama made the appointments on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

“Much is expected from this Commission under Section 164 of the constitution, where the functions of this much awaited Libandla are listed. I would urge the nation to read and re-read the constitution. Having been duly appointed by the hand of His Royal Majesty out of over 1.2 million Swazis in the kingdom and found mostly of His Majesty’s trust as persons possessing high moral character and proven integrity, we wish them the wisdom of King Solomon of old, God’s tenure and guidance as they embark and discharge their duties in their own office, the Ministry of Justice has delivered under its motto of Government unusual – to name but a few,” said the Minister.

Some of the functions of the Human Rights Commission include investigating complaints concerning alleged violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, investigating complaints concerning the functions of any key public service commission, and the armed forces in so far as the complaints relate to the failure to achieve acceptable delivery of service or equitable access by all in the recruitment of those services or fair administration by those services.

The Commission shall also promote and foster strict adherence to the rule of law and principles of natural justice in public administration. Clerk to Parliament Sanele Nxumalo recently informed the Weekend Observer that public office bearers were unable to make declarations of their assets and liabilities due to the non-existence of the Integrity Commission. The same commission doubles up as the Integrity Commission.

Members of Parliament and cabinet ministers have still not made declarations despite assuming their respective public offices last year. The Integrity Commission has the responsibility of receiving declaration of assets and liabilities and for enforcing the Leadership Code of Conduct.

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