South Africa

THE AFTERMATH

Good party sends explosive evidence to Hawks unit of 26 individuals directly implicated in SA’s July unrest

Former president Jacob Zuma supporters close the N3 between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, burn tyres and put sand on the roads on 9 July 2021. (Photo: Gallo Images / Volksblad / Mlungisi Louw)

The Good party has given the Hawks a USB stick containing explosive evidence of ANC members’ involvement in the July mayhem. But will the Hawks act?

The Good party’s secretary-general, Brett Herron, handed over explosive evidence related to July’s unrest to the Hawks’ Crimes Against the State unit on 4 August.  

This evidence links 26 individuals directly to the riots and looting in which 330 people died and 150,000 jobs were placed at risk, and which ripped R50-billion from anticipated GDP. According to the detailed analysis seen by Daily Maverick, many of them are ANC members or government employees.

Herron reported three WhatsApp groups which were central to organising the unrest. These are the “Ethekwini Shutdown”, the “INK Shutdown” and the “Free Zuma Information” groups. The first two were organising groups while the Free Zuma Information team was the master group, as Daily Maverick reported here.

Now Herron has added 26 names to the group of people who allegedly organised the week of mayhem. Daily Maverick has not named them as they have not yet been charged. 

“The content of the WhatsApp groups and supporting audiovisual material is explosive and shocking,” says Herron. He says organisers set up the three groups from the day after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed on 7 July.

“I had the evidence I could not ignore,” said Herron, who has handed over the material to Col Christiaan Theron of the Hawks unit that investigates crimes against the state. The police will now investigate the evidence.  The SAPS referred queries to the acting minister in the presidency’s office.

Herron believes the evidence points to sedition and terrorism. “It was an attempt to disrupt or overturn the state,” he says, picking out a chat message from one ANC member on the group which reads: “Let’s be the terrorists of South Africa.”  

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called the week which shook South Africa a “failed insurrection”, while former president Thabo Mbeki labelled the week a “counter-revolutionary insurgency”, an adjective also used by ANC NEC member and head of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, Joel Netshitenzhe, in this Daily Maverick piece.  

“We heard [from the government] about 12 instigators, but there are no signs there has been movement to arrest them. Of these 26 names, a lot were directly involved,” says Herron. 

His evidence is chilling – it includes details of alleged ANC members who used a hired bulldozer to move sand to block roads, plans to disrupt the Durban harbour (which did happen) and numerous threats to make the city ungovernable.

“It is clear that these WhatsApp groups contain clear evidence of incitement, planning and involvement of many individuals in the insurrection, looting and acts of terrorism witnessed in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng,” says Herron. 

Most of the 26 named are ANC members, whistle-blowers have said. At least three people are believed to work in government (reportedly for the KZN provincial legislature, the KZN health department and the eThekwini municipality). At least one other person is an ANC volunteer employee.  One man calls himself a commander of the now-suspended MKMVA, while a woman on the list claimed to be an SANDF soldier.   

The groups plotted how to cripple Durban’s harbour, with an ANC member posting, “Comrades, our goal is simple… we shut down iBayhead ksasa [the harbour area tomorrow]. Feel free to chip in ngokuty do we go about in achieving this.” On 12 July, the harbour was closed due to looting and violence.

Other posts read like a terrorist wishlist, with instructions to bring “Umetshisi [matches], u Petrol, Petrol bom…” The groups contain numerous posted videos of looted malls, stores and other businesses. For example, when McDonald’s at Umlazi MegaCity was torched, one member of a group responded with the words, “I’m happy to see this.”  

The plan to destabilise the country by cutting off supply chains is clear.  One post reads: “Transnet you. Airport you than business sector you next and we are turn back [sic].” 

Transnet declared force majeure in July after a cyberattack on port facilities, while also suffering disruptions to its coal line earlier in the month. This delayed exports and meant agricultural products were ruined while waiting. 

Intelligence foiled plans to take out the airports, according to the State Security Agency. A man believed to be a government employee posted, “Already ‘state intelligence’ is aware of these plans and im sure they gearing up 4 anything the only thing 2 create a elemnt of surprise is distabilising the country anywhere anytime without any anouncemnt [sic].”

Several of the 26 people named by Brett Herron are likely to have been organisers, as they repeatedly posted from different sites and served the function of egging on the rioters. In one of the messages, a person posted the word “Burn” nine times, like a digital chant to praise the arson attacks on trucks. About 45 trucks were burnt or hijacked at the N3 Mooi River Toll Plaza and on the N2 highway leading into and out of Durban. 

Other videos included evidence like people burning tyres, with the voiceover describing it as a revolution. A man who led the protests at Nkandla during the weekend ahead of Zuma’s jailing also posted an image of an ATM being carried off by a bulldozer. 

Herron says the rioters had access to money as they hired equipment such as bulldozers and angle grinders.    

In its latest “Counting the Cost” bulletin published this week, the SA Property Owners’ Association (Sapoa) said looters had caused R300-million in damage to educational facilities, 90 pharmacies had been destroyed and 112 shopping centres had been looted and damaged. Rampaging mobs had also destroyed 1,223 ATMs, 269 banks and 3,931 stores. Sapoa said 150,000 jobs were in jeopardy, 50,000 informal traders had been impacted and 40,000 businesses affected. DM

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All Comments 38

  • Hawks must act. BUT threats for Cyril to go to ICC now out, what a load of *ollocks, EFF sans Julius (too dangerous as he would be a target) to go to Phoenix to protest against Indians ( as usual), RET to protest at court. The Nkandla tea party plan is in Phase 2.

  • Well done Ferial! Now, one needs to chase the money trail I suppose. Keep at it. Sad thing is that these people are pawns in a bigger game – foot soldiers who will go down. Hopefully, this will lead to the top organizers. The Hawks, NPA cannot mess up these cases.

    • Yes! Please Ferial – DAILY articles like this – expose, pressure, reveal underlying miscreants, investigative journalism – one of the last remaining hopes for this sad sinking country.

  • So some dude in a small opposition party can get this data but the criminal “intelligence” department can’t?
    Well now it’s out in the open, the pressure is on them to act… But will they?
    I doubt it. SAD.

    • Precisely………..these people can act with impunity as the so-called security cluster just simply has no idea!! It is pathetic in the extreme!

      • Well said Alley Cat. This shows just how depleted and useless our security cluster is. The evidence is in plain site and it takes a person from an opposition party to enlighten those who are supposed to be in the know. That CR has done NOTHING thus far is of great concern to any clear thinking South African and one wonders what the final nail in the ANC coffin will be. More insurrection probably and in a more discreet way than posting on Twitter. Unless action is taken, we are a failed state.

  • Having tweets is one thing – getting through the evidentiary rules of criminal procedure is another. Have some empathy for the Hawks – they need more evidence than this. You cannot stand before a judge and say “here are the Twitter/Facebook posts your honour”. It’s not enough.
    It’s time for a civil class action against these people – the insurers, the businesses, the property owners, the truck owners – get these ba*tards in a civil suit, judgements in hundreds of millions of Rand, subject them to penury for the rest of their lives.

    • Macleod, I agree completely but it’s the general feeling of hopelessness that gives rise to these comments. With nothing forthcoming from anyone in a leadership position it’s too easy to think that they’re covering their tracks. Agree that civil action should be taken but civil society is also filled with inertia.

    • Finally I found a logical person in this thread.

      You can tell some people in this thread like John know absolutely nothing about the ANC or how this country works. If he did, then he wouldn’t be assuming that the ANC is one united party where everyone is on the gravy train.

      Charles I appreciate you trying to defend people like John but hopelessness is not an excuse to be ignorant. For someone subscribed to the Daily Maverick you should be educated enough to know Cyril is not from the same ANC faction as the instigators.

      This country is at a turning point, this is the endgame. We wanted Cyril to configure the state as best he could to go after the state capture network and he has. This is the result. You can either stay in the know and provide logical and well reasoned analysis, or shut up and let those who can do the talking.

  • If SA had been attacked by external forces, how would our armed forces have reacted? It’s open season in SA now – every nefarious criminal seeking to evade international scrutiny will see our country as a safe haven for criminal activities. By the time the “Defence” Minister wakes up & gets moving & the “Ruling” Party manages to extricate itself from its terminal Consultation Constipation, we’ll all be well & truly in the dwang. The State will not act against these internal terrorists. If the will and bold decisiveness to take action existed at all, there would have been mass arrests of all the insurrectionists by now & they would not be afforded the luxury of bail. They are being left to roam freely to plot and carry out further mayhem until, it seems, they achieve the overthrow of the State and install themselves in power to continue their megalomania & plunder of the State. How did we get here? Bell Pottinger & the Guptas appear to still be in control. Surely SARS can start auditing all those suspected of money laundering/looting of State e investigation as a strategy in exposing the genesis of the massive destruction to the economyeducation, health and society in general that we have recently suffered and will continue to live in fear of and probably still be subjected to UNLESS decisive action is taken by the President NOW. CR should know it’s make or break for him – but more importantly – for our beloved country that we have worked so hard to build. Act NOW.

  • The GOOD guys are wasting their time. cr and his anc will never act against their own in any meaningful way. Maybe a small fall-guy or two will be sacrificed for the anc, but no more can be expected. They will never accept that they are in the wrong.

  • Bemused to read they HIRED angle grinders and bulldozers and didn’t steal them! WHY? Maybe there’s a trail of RECEIPTS?

  • Why should we be surprised that ANC members were involved when the ANC premier of the province at the start of the looting calls on CR to ‘pardon’ JZ … who knows for what ? As for the ‘police’ acting on evidence … that is a pipe dream because as reports have indicated, most of the top brass in SAPS are part of stated capture and are implicated in making the organisation impotent … and settling personal scores ! Like many of those of the ruling party.

  • One of the court cases was delayed by the NPA because they wanted to add TREASON to the charges. Does this carry the death sentence if found guilty? Or is this a threat to get the individual to spill the beans? Good game, good game!

  • Well if theHawks etc won’t or can’t act , then civil lawsuits ( such as by PropertyOwners Association)could be filed , using all the evidence, of which there seems to be much, available to prosecute the criminals. Or for that matter Sasria, although it is state owned. There must be consequences- where is someone like Gerrie Nel?

  • Very interesting how Bheki Cele has focused so much energy and resources on the RESPONSE by Phoenix residents but is far less enthusiastic about targeting those who committed treason. Is this because he is part of their club?

  • And all the while, ‘fat nose’ does nothing. A paralysed president. Mr Nothing. To think that sponsors backed CR17 campaign with hundeds of millions for Mr Nothing to buy the support of equally dormant mice.

    Ramaphosa may just as well have gone to Russia with Mabuza.

    • I understand your frustration Clifton, I really do….but who in the hell could do better than CR at this point in time? Our Russkie stooge Vice President? Anyone else in the wings of the ANC? Anyone else from any other Political Party?? I think not…so we had better get real. Cyril’s silence and apparent lack of action is weird and very frustrating but he is all we’ve got between us and complete disaster!