General: Mall incident violated cultural rights – commission

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) has found, among other things, that the actions of Jose Maponyane against Ndebele activist Thando Mahlangu at Boulders Mall constituted a violation of Mahlangu's cultural rights, notes a News24 report. In addition, the commission found that Maponyane acted out of a lack of knowledge of cultural diversity and that the suspended mall manager was also a victim of a lost heritage created by past inequalities and should be reinstated.

The Chapter Nine institution's chairperson, Professor LD Mosoma, announced its findings on the incident in which Mahlangu was asked to leave the mall due to his attire. In a video clip that went viral, Maponyane is heard telling Mahlangu that his attire is inappropriate. The CRL commission further found that Maponyane's employer Redefine Property did not offer its employees cultural rights and cultural diversity training. It also found that it did not have policies that provided for observation of cultural rights and cultural diversity by the company itself as the employer, by the employees, and by the company in relation to its engagement with the public.

Redefine Property, among other things, was given six months to review its policies and revert to the commission and to empower their employees with cultural and religious diversity training. In addition, the company was requested to hold a cultural exhibition on 24 March every year in all their malls in Gauteng to promote awareness among South Africans of the diversity of cultural, religious, and linguistic communities and their rights.

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