| Community barricade nearest to Phoenix police station the most violent, claims SAHRC witness

Saturday, 20 November
19 Nov
The SA Human Rights Commission on Friday conducted an inspection in loco at the Phoenix Highway, a point of much alleged violence and racial discrimination during the unrest.

The Commission and its evidence leaders walked along the busy highway, which is the main road used by residents in the surrounding neighbourhoods.
The SAHRC also zoomed in on what witnesses claimed was apparently the most violent community barricades during the unrest, the one that was situated mere metres away from the Phoenix Police Station.

During the hearings, fingers have been pointed at the police and their lack of action during the unrest in Phoenix.
Witnesses testified that when they tried to go to the police station, they were met with resistance in the form of gunfire from the barricade outside the police premises in Phoenix.
READ | Two survivors tell of hiding wounded in thick bushes, watching attacks in Phoenix
One witness, Thulani Mseleku, testified this week that a brick was thrown at him and he was shot at while trying to make his way home.
He testified that when he eventually made it to the Phoenix police station, he had been severely injured after a brick was hurled at his moving vehicle and was robbed of his R3 000 sunglasses.
WATCH: Bhambhayi resident and @SAHRCommission witness says that community roadblock meters from the Phoenix @SAPoliceService was one of the most violent during the #unrest. The commission is performing an inspection in loco today. @News24 @TeamNews24
Another witness and Bhambhayi resident, Chris Biyela, took the Commission and its evidence leaders through the sites along the Phoenix Highway where six roadblocks were created during the unrest.

He claimed that the worst incidents of violence came from the barricade nearest to the police station.
Biyela added that while the roadblock was close to the police station, officers simply drove past it and never tried to stop the perpetrators.

“The barricades were up for three days, and none of them were unattended. Where there is a barricade, people will be there, mainly the main road on Phoenix Highway.
ALSO READ | A group of armed Indians abused black people that day, victim tells SAHRC
“The one at the police station had a huge crowd. There were about six cars burnt at the bottom. There were shooting at the roadblock near the police station,” he testified.
Biyela claimed that many witnesses described the roadblock at the police station as a “dangerous barricade”.
“Many people are testifying that and that they ran to the police station. There were many casualties, some of whom died. They were not able to open a case on the day. We are not sure what the reasons are, but they only opened cases after a few days.”
WATCH: Bhambhayi resident and @SAHRCommission witness Chris Biyela shows commissioners and evidence leaders where roadblocks were in Phoenix during the #Unrest. @News24 @TeamNews24
Chief Operations Officer at the SA Human Rights Commission Chantal Kisoon said they attempted to engage the station commander at Phoenix Police Station but he declined to comment.
“SAPS were not in a position to respond to any questions at this time but they will be attending the hearing next week. We have the station commander and provincial commissioners for KZN and Gauteng and National commissioner, they will be attending on Monday.

“There are a number of questions we hope to put to SAPS on Monday. We had not planned an interview with the station commander. Our plan was to have an inspection in loco, he has advised us that he will need to have approval to speak to us,” Kisoon added.
19 Nov
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