South Africa: Sex Work Activists Demand Answers From Human Rights Commission

They claim that a complaint lodged in August about sex worker Robyn Montsumi who died in police custody has gone unanswered

SWEAT and the Asijiki Coalition protested at the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Wednesday.

The protesters are concerned by an IPID investigation into the death of Robyn Montsumi, a sex worker who died in police custody in April.

The protesters say they filed a complaint with the SAHRC in August but have not heard back from commissioner Chris Nissen. GroundUp also could not get a response from the SAHRC.

The Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) and members of Asijiki Coalition picketed outside the Iziko Museum Slave Lodge and the Company Gardens on Wednesday.

About two dozen people called for an urgent meeting with South African Human Rights Commissioner, Chris Nissen. This follows a complaint and follow-up communication submitted to the Commission which has gone unanswered.

Duduzile Dlamini, SWEAT advocacy manager, said the complaint to the SAHRC was about the IPID investigation into sex worker and activist Robyn Montsumi’s death in April 2020. Montsumi was arrested on a drug charge and held at the Mowbray police station. A few days later she died in police custody. IPID investigated what was apparently a suicide by hanging.

The organisation lodged a complaint about the police findings of Montsumi’s case in August and they are yet to receive a response from either IPID or the SAHRC.