Usindiso Building Commission of Inquiry
On 26 October 2023, the Khampepe Commission of Inquiry into the fire at the Usindiso Shelter in Marshalltown commenced. The fire on 31 August 2023 claimed the lives of over 70 people and left hundreds more injured and destitute.
The Commission of Inquiry was established by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi to inquire into the circumstances of the fire that caused these deaths and injuries and the prevalence of ‘hijacked buildings’ in the inner city of Johannesburg. The Commission has also been tasked with making findings about who should be held responsible and to draw lessons from the incident, considering the ongoing investigations carried out by the police and other bodies. The Commission will make recommendations about appropriate steps that must be taken and by whom and it has been given six months to complete its work.
SERI is participating in the Usindiso Commission of Inquiry and also represents the Inner City Federation (ICF).
On Saturday, 28 October SERI and the ICF submitted an urgent application to the Commission seeking the recusal of Adv. Thulani Makhubela as Commissioner based on his sustained public support of and association with Operation Dudula and Put South Africans First, as evidenced by the Commissioner's public statements on social media for a period of more than five years. SERI and ICF are of the view that the perceived bias is overwhelming and goes to issues central to the mandate of the Commission. The credibility of the Commission in the eyes of the survivors and the public are key because it is both a mechanism through which the former residents can obtain justice and for addressing the longer-term housing crisis affecting the most vulnerable in society.
Heads of argument and written submissions filed in the Usindiso Commission of Inquiry
- Commission's Ruling (20 December 2023) here.
- Evidence Leaders: Heads of argument in recusal application (12 November 2023) here; Supplementary heads of argument (22 November 2023) here.
- First respondents (Residents of Usindiso): Heads of argument (11 November 2023) here.
- Applicants (SERI and ICF): Heads of argument in recusal application (9 November 2023) here; Supplementary heads of argument in recusal application (20 November 2023) here.
- Applicants (SERI and ICF): Notice of application for recusal (28 October 2023) here.