Human Rights Committee (HRC)

Any person who alleges an infringement of or threat to fundamental rights may lodge a complaint with the HRC. The HRC functions independently and impartially and participates in its activities in good faith and without fear, favour, bias or prejudice.

The HRC is a standing committee established by the Human Rights Policy, approved by the Council of the North-West University (NWU) on 22 September 2006.

1. Responsibilities

In execution of the Human Rights Policy, the responsibilities of the HRC are to:

  1. promote a culture of human rights, observance, respect and protection thereof;
  2. develop an awareness of human rights in the University community and its external environment through (non-academic) educational programmes;
  3. monitor and assess compliance with human rights in the University community;
  4. make recommendations to the Council on the promotion of human rights within the framework of the law and the Constitution; and
  5. investigate any alleged violation of human rights within the University community and assist any person adversely affected thereby to secure redress.

The responsibilities are executed in accordance with the Procedural Manual: Human Rights Committee.

2. Authority

The HRC is accountable to Council, who is responsible for instituting and monitoring the implementation of the Human Rights Policy. The HRC investigates, compiles findings, advises and reports on alleged human rights complaints, and the Procedural Manual: Human Rights Committee makes provision for appointing an HRC Inquiry Panel, as well as an HRC Review Panel.

The NWU recognises the fundamental rights and values contained in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. These fundamental values and rights must be respected and upheld in the University community, and should be applied as an integral part of all University practices and policies.

3. Membership


3.1 Composition

The Council approves the composition of the HRC on the recommendation of the Executive Director: Human Capital. Members will be representative of the University community and sensitive to race, gender and disability.

In summary, the composition of the committee is as follows:

Human Rights Committee (HRC) of the North-West University





Independent chairperson – appointment approved by Council

2 years


Standing members



Director:  Employee Relations and Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) Affairs



Director: Human Capital Operations



Language Ombudsman



Rotating institutional Dean of Students

1 year


Student representative: Health and Safety Officer of the Institutional Student Representative Council

1 year


Representative members



Special expertise: diversity and equity

2 years


Special expertise: labour relations

2 years


Representative:  Mahikeng – Faculty of Law

2 years


Representative:  Potchefstroom – Faculty of Law

2 years


Representative:  Vanderbijlpark – Faculty of Law

2 years


3.2      Appointment of members

The Executive Director: Human Capital appoints representative members of the HRC by means of a nomination process in conjunction with the Institutional and Campus Registrars and with the assistance of the Secretariat.

3.3      Appointment of Chairperson and acting Chairperson

The Council approves the appointment of an independent chairperson of the HRC on recommendation of the Executive Director: Human Capital. To ensure impartial decisions and processes, no acting chairperson is appointed.

3.4      Co-opted members, observers and visitors

Any expert and/or staff member of the University may be co-opted by the chairperson as a member of the HRC from time to time for a particular purpose or meeting.

3.5      Voting rights of members

All members have voting rights. Co-opted members, observers and visitors will not have voting rights.

3.6      Secretariat

Secretariat services are provided by Corporate and Information Governance Services.

4. Reporting

On the recommendation of the Council Executive Committee, the Council (17 September 2010) approved that the HRC, as an independent structure, report within the line of the Executive Director: Human Capital.

A bi-annual report of the HRC is submitted to the Council, the Institutional Management Committee and the Institutional Forum in June/July and November.

Apart from the annual reports and after consideration the HRC may submit a report to the Institutional Management Committee (for noting) and the Council regarding a specific human rights violation(s)..