Kader Asmal regrets COPE appeal to Human Rights Commission
In a statement issued today, Professor Kader Asmal, who is honorary professor in law at UWC and UCT, opposed the decision by the Congress of the People announced by its parliamentary leader to refer recent attacks on his sanity and premature despatch to the South African Human Rights Commission.
‘While I appreciate the party’s concern – which they have not communicated to me – and of which I learnt only from the press – it is my feeling that the latest manifestation of outrageous and provocative and destructive remarks by a deputy minister and by MK veterans is symptomatic of a tainted political atmosphere in which the moral compass pointing to the core values of my movement has lost its sense of direction.
‘It is therefore not appropriate that such a single (and largely illiterate) example of regrettable behaviour be investigated by the Human Rights Commission. This issue is much larger. The atmosphere of our political life has been debased by the use of intemperate language to deal with alleged criminals (shoot the bastards), to provide support for candidates to office (kill for XYZ), to kill for a cause (against racism) to oppose a medical test on an athlete (minister will cause World War III), or that the use freedom of expression will lead to inevitable death (by a leader of a political party).
‘This matter cannot be settled by a quasi-judicial finding by the Human Rights Commission. It requires, all of us, but especially those who have status, power and authority, to lead by supporting a humane, generous and democratic climate for discussion, debate and for the articulation of criticism of policies of the administration, political parties and all structures involved in policy formulation.”
Professor Asmal concluded by ‘urging everyone not to fight for me but to work for the upholding of the core values of our Constitution’.