“The SCA notes that while the SAHRC has a mandate to monitor the observance of human rights and the power to enter premises, it does not have an explicit mandate to conduct unannounced visits to places of detention.

The SAHRC informs that, in practice, it carries out unannounced visits to places of deprivation of liberty and is advocating for the passage of the NPM Bill which will provide the SAHRC with an explicit mandate to conduct unannounced visits.

The SCA is of the view that an NHRI mandate should be interpreted in a broad and purposive manner to promote a progressive definition of human rights, which includes all rights set out in international, regional, and domestic instruments, including economic, social, and cultural rights. Specifically, the mandate should include the mandate to authorize unannounced and free access to inspect and examine any public premises, documents, equipment, and assets without prior written notice.

The SCA therefore reiterates its previous recommendations of 2017 and recommends that the SAHRC continue to advocate for appropriate amendments to its law to provide it with an explicit mandate to conduct unannounced visit to places of deprivation of liberty.

The SCA refers to Paris Principles A.1, A.2, and to its General Observation 1.2 on ‘Human rights mandate’.”