The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will no longer be involved in the plight of foreign nationals living at a church in Cape Town following a threat on the life of commissioner Chris Nissen.
The commission has been involved since hundreds of men, women and children fled to the Methodist Chapel off Greenmarket Square after they were forcibly removed from outside the United Nations Refugee Agency offices in October.
In a statement, the SAHRC claimed a community leader representing those occupying the church threatened to kill Nissen ahead of a hearing at the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.
Nissen was at court where the City of Cape Town was applying for the right to enforce a by-law which would determine what action authorities could take to resolve the situation.
The by-law includes transgressions like littering and making fires on pavements, as well as public urination and defecation – offences some of the foreign nationals at the church have been accused of.
The HRC said Nissen was outside court when he was told by a community leader he would be killed.
The commission said the same person was involved in an altercation in November during which Nissen was wounded.
The organisation said in light of the apparent attack on Nissen’s dignity and integrity and by implication the commission as a whole, it can no longer be involved in any further engagements regarding the matter.
The SAHRC has also indicated it’s considering its legal recourse regarding the alleged threats against Nissen.