The South African Human Rights Commission is once again embroiled in controversy, with its former chairperson, Lawrence Mushwana, facing fresh allegations of report tampering.
The report in question followed an investigation into alleged anti-semitic comments made by Marius Fransman, the former African National Congress Western Cape chairperson.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) filed papers at the Johannesburg High Court two weeks ago requesting a review of the final report, which while identical to the preliminary report in every other respect, makes different findings to that report.
The issue goes back to 2013 when the SAJBD filed a complaint with the SAHRC against Fransman, accusing him of making anti-semitic comments during an interview on a Cape Town radio station.
According to the court papers Fransman said that the Democratic Alliance had given over building contracts historically held by Muslims to the Jewish community.
The SAJBD subsequently asked Fransman to apologise for his “anti-semitic” comments. However, according to the papers, Fransman called for the board to be more patriotic instead, adding that the question should be asked whether they represent South African Jews or the Israeli government.
In a media interview at the time, Fransman was quoted as saying that the Jewish Board should “act South African … not holier than thou,” in response to the SAJBD’s decision to lodge a complaint with the SAHRC.