'Too early' to label Phoenix killings as massacre, SAHRC hears

'Too early' to label Phoenix killings as massacre, SAHRC hears

The Social Cohesion group says it's premature to define the killings that took place in Phoenix during the July unrest as a massacre. 

Ravi Pillay

Representative Ravi Pillay testified before the South African Human Rights Commission on Wednesday, as commissioners wrapped up their months-long hearing into last year's riots. 


Pillay, who is KZN's Economic Development MEC, says before the killings are labelled there needs to be tangible truth based on evidence first. 


"I heard you speaking of 80, I'm not aware of any breakdown that's been put out to the public domain that locates these deaths, in time and space including the details submitted that should be requested from the mortuary. 

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"I think that's only going to give you the location in time and space and method. That's going to be the first instance of a characterisation. So until those details are available the first factual assessment we believe is immature and that's why we contest."


Commissioners are still probing how 80 people linked to the civil unrest died. Their deaths were recorded at Phoenix Mortuary. 


"We believe that there is nothing better than the actual truth. It must be dealt with, whatever the case is. But in the absence of that information we contest that particular narrative but we do not contest that this was a horrific incident, it was very painful.


"The brutality of certain incidents were clearly view with horrendous racism, we don't dispute that."

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