Celebrated investor Warren Buffett once remarked, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
We need to start doing things differently here in South Africa. There must be consequences for violence, corruption and governing failures.
The damage done to infrastructure during the week of violence and looting unleashed by Zuma’s faction of the ANC is vast. But it pales in comparison to the damage done to people’s trust in the rule of law and other institutions needed to ensure peace and wellbeing. And it’s going to be harder to rebuild. But rebuild it we must, if we are to ensure public safety and achieve the economic growth needed to tackle the tinderbox of poverty and inequality that so fanned the flames of insurrection.
As the preamble to the 2030 Global Sustainable Development Agenda puts it: There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.
To rebuild trust in the rule of law and our security system after these riots, we need full transparency about what went wrong and full accountability for actions and inaction, coupled with an honest assessment of the country’s problems. Residents in KZN and Gauteng deserve the whole truth of why their lives and livelihoods were torn apart. And we all need reassurance that this kind of anarchy won’t happen again.