Is South Africa an ungovernable state? It appears so as we start 2022, but all this started with the July riots last year after the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma. ATM bombings during this period allegedly saw almost R120-million stolen. The riots led to goods being stolen and shops and warehouses destroyed. The looting cost South Africa’s economy an estimated R50-billion and more than 300 people died. We still don’t know who the masterminds behind it all were.
The events of this period exposed the weakness of this administration’s security cluster, forcing President Cyril Ramaphosa to move the State Security Agency (SSA) to his office and to reshuffle his Cabinet.
He removed the then minister of defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, from her position, but the ANC redeployed her to Parliament as the new Speaker. The then Speaker, Thandi Modise, became the defence minister. The minister of police, Bheki Cele, retained his position, while the then minister of state security, Ayanda Dlodlo, was moved to the Department of Public Service and Administration.
Now we are seeing attacks on National Key Points – on Parliament and the Constitutional Court. Parliament went up in flames on New Year’s Day and on Wednesday the Constitutional Court was vandalised, just a day after Part One of the Zondo Commission report was made available to the public.
It seems clear that these are organised crimes intended to destabilise the country. It can’t be a coincidence that these institutions were attacked in the same week, and it suggests that we are vulnerable as a nation.
How is it that such buildings can come under attack? Where were the SSA and the police? These cannot be random acts. The sovereignty of South Africa is under attack and it cannot be business as usual for Ramaphosa. Will this be his legacy for his first term?
Ramaphosa needs to do something about his ministers. One can’t even say there was a Cabinet reshuffle last year, as he simply shifted his ministers when he should have fired all ministers in the security cluster.
It is clear that South Africans are not safe. We know what is happening in Mozambique where we lost a soldier, Corporal Tebogo Radebe, after SADC soldiers were ambushed by insurgents in east Chai Village in December 2021. He was part of the SADC peacekeeping mission in Cabo Delgado.
In 2020, Isis was reported to have warned South Africa not to get involved in Mozambique. Terrorists don’t make empty threats. With all that is happening in South Africa, we are at our weakest and it would be easy for Isis to attack, which means ordinary citizens will be casualties.
It is clear that these criminal networks are well coordinated and that they will do anything to destroy our democracy. People lost their lives for this democracy, and South Africans need to unite to protect our democracy and Constitution. An attack on Parliament is an attack on our democracy and an attack on the Constitutional Court is an attack on our Constitution. This should never be accepted at all, by anyone.
For the economy to grow, the country needs to be stable. Because of Covid-19, many people have lost their jobs, worsening instability. In order to create jobs the government needs to ensure that we have a stable country which will improve investor confidence.
The people who were behind the July riots must be arrested and be held accountable for their actions. It cannot be that it is still not clear who was behind riots that almost destroyed the country. Organised crime should never be tolerated.
The ANC should not be going ahead with its 110-year anniversary celebrations in Limpopo while all is not well in the country. The president should go back to the way OR Tambo used to communicate the January 8 Statement – via Radio Freedom. How can you have celebrations when the country is under siege? DM