The South African Human Rights Commission has subpoenaed the Minister of Social Development‚ Bathabile Dlamini.
The subpoena is in relation to the Commission’s National Investigative Hearing on the Status of Mental Health Care in South Africa‚ which was held on November 14-15 last year‚ 2017.
“Despite numerous attempts to secure submissions from the Department of Social Development (DSD) at the hearing‚ neither the Minister nor officials of the DSD have responded‚” the commission said on Monday. The SAHRC said the department plays a critical role in respect of mental health care users‚ including children.
“The Commission is of the view that information from the Department was necessary for its probe into the status of mental health care in the country.”
Despite being contacted telephonically and in writing for information‚ the commission said “the Department has failed to cooperate or respond”.
A delegation from the commission even visited the Minister’s office in Cape Town on February 7 this year‚ 2018‚ and later forwarded correspondence relating to the matter to the department. Although the department acknowledged receipt of the correspondence‚ it has to date not provided the SAHRC with the information requested‚ the commission said.
Organs of state‚ including National Departments‚ have a constitutional and statutory obligation to co-operate with the Commission‚ in terms of the South African Human Rights Commission Act. The subpoena was served on Dlamini on Friday‚ February 23‚ 2018‚ the commission said.
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