Like father like son: Human rights Commission's Sabelo Masuku goes to a Geneva conference for a virtual conference

The Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Public Administration/Integrity Sabelo Masuku has bulldozed his way to Geneva to physically attend a meeting he will not get accreditation into and can be attended virtually.

In a manner reminiscent on his father, Deputy Prime Minster Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku; who made a lone figure during the 48th Regular Session Human Rights Council on September 16, 2021 while other member states took part virtually, the younger Masuku flew business class to attend a meeting whereas local Human Rights Institutions had been expressly told they would not even accreditation into the meeting building due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taxpayers were forced to fund Masuku’s trip to attend the 39th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group which will see him spend 12 days in Geneva. The UPR is a ‘state driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each state to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations’.

Sabelo Masuku. He attended a conference in Geneva. 

When asked about his reasons for going to Geneva whereas his attendance at the meeting would be virtual, Masuku junior used the same reason as was used by government when defending his father that he had side meetings to attend.

The Chairman was asked whether he was going to get accreditation into the building to attend the meeting physically. His response was that he would be going into the United Nations’ building for other business whereas his visa application facilitated by the ministry of foreign affairs categorically stated that his reasons for travelling to Switzerland were to attend the UPR Session.

Worth noting that is that Masuku made the trip as part of government’s delegation whereas the commission is supposed to be autonomous in its operations as it provides an oversight role on government and other state and none state bodies. When asked about this anomaly Masuku was defensive.

 “I am not part of the government delegation per se, but because we still don’t run our own budget…, all our travel arrangements are made in the PS office who is the controlling minster that is responsible for our budget,” Masuku said when contacted by The Bridge.

Not only did he allegedly bulldoze his way to a meeting he will attend virtually, Masuku junior declined a plane ticket demanding that he be upgraded to business class instead of economy. This is when asked for reasons behind his refusal to travel on economy, he referred to Finance Circular 3 of 2018 stating that he did not demand to contravene any protocol but only called for compliance in order to fly business.

Masuku and his delegation is sure to get hefty travelling allowances for their globetrotting expedition. 

Governement delegation comprises:

Minister of Justice Pholile Dlamini Shakantu

Acting Principal Secretary Gugu Victoria Nsibande

Legal Advisor Vuyile Dumisani Dlamini

Legal Advisor – Elections and Boundaries Commission Lungile Nomphumelelo

Commissioner – Commission on Human Rights and Public Administration Sabelo Mduduzi Masuku

State Reporting Coordinator Nozipho Lorainne Mazibuko

Senior State Reporting Officer Mlondie Sibandze

Gender monitoring and evaluating analyst -Majahonkhe Mpendulo Masuku

Personal Secretary to Minister Shakantu – Lindiwe Doreen Maseko

Additional information sourced: