Message Of Appreciation From Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
I wish to thank Commissioner Chris Nissen and Ms Eden Esterhuizen for travelling to Cape Town to meet with the Hon. Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Advocate Anthony Mitchell, Mr Toren Wing and Mr Chris Erasmus. We appreciate the attention being given to our request for an investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission.
The issue of genetically modified foods and the implications they have for the health of our people is a complex and controversial one. I realise that we may attract a great deal of criticism for daring to ask the obvious questions, for there is enormous vested interest in pushing GMOs onto South Africa. Whether this is done in good faith or bad, it cannot be done without a proper investigation into the consequences.
I have taken up this issue as a servant of the people, knowing that I have a duty to protect the rights and interests of all South Africans. I share the view of the South African Traditional Doctors Union that we cannot stand by in silence while our people are potentially exposed to danger.
There is, at present, no definitive answer about the safety of GMOs, while the dangers of Glyphosate are incontrovertible. South Africans have a right to know whether their health is being compromised, and we have the right to participate in a decision on whether the risk is acceptable. This is why we are seeking definitive answers.
With the burden of cancer growing exponentially, we cannot afford to stick our heads in the sand when it comes to known or even suspected carcinogens. I appreciate the support we have received from the Cancer Association of South Africa, expressed through a letter to the Commission in September 2016. With the benefit of their position paper on Glyphosate, I trust that this morning’s discussions be productive.
There is, to my mind, no one better equipped to tackle this issue than the SAHRC. This is, fundamentally, a human rights issue. I therefore thank you for being responsive.