Who is behind the violent unrest?
15 July 2021
South Africans, reeling from the wanton looting and destruction in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and parts of Gauteng, as the ANC fractures cracked through towns and cities, are both cleaning up and demanding answers. Businesses – 45 000 of them – are claiming their cost of stock and infrastructure alone will exceed R16 billion.
As the smoke clears, the big question being asked is: who is to blame? All eyes are turning to the Security Cluster – Police, State Security and the Defence Force.
Any 10-year-old would have been able to show them the threatening leaflets flying over social media – giving dates and venues for various protests and looting days in advance. Yet, to quote the Minister of Defence, they were “caught with their pants down”. Specialised cybercrime units exist – but seemingly did nothing.
As the Security Cluster Ministers throw each other under the flaming blame-game bus, so more and evermore elaborate conspiracy theories are introduced. Of course, one of them is probably correct.
Was it an attempt at a coup? It was certainly coordinated by highly trained experts. Or was it?
Could it simply have been a groundswell explosion of fury after years of service delivery failure? Or was it indeed a group of individuals (12 have been named) because of a political campaign? In which case, did they achieve their goal or find themselves with a tiger by the tail?
What we do know is that 70 people are dead, and we’re heading for 1 500 arrests.
Some of the questions that will have to be answered by the Security Cluster – specifically the State Security Agency (SSA) and Crime Intelligence – are how 35 trucks were burned in KZN with nary a cop in sight. Were they outspooked by the spooks they trained in years gone by? Spooks loyal to Jacob Zuma? Or is that just an excuse for sloppy intelligence work? Maybe, as is being claimed, MK vets are behind this?
The Deputy Minister of State Security said yesterday that it was all a plot run by experts – which of course lets the current faction of the ANC in government off the hook.
A name that has emerged time and again over the years, is back. He is former Ambassador to Japan Thulani Dlomo who went AWOL from the SSA for months after he was axed from the position. He is widely known as “Zuma’s personal spy”. His is one of the 12 names being bandied about as instigators of the insurrection.
If it is discovered that there are police and agents paid for by South Africa who are loyal not to the country but only to Jacob Zuma, then an entirely different debate will evolve. That is the suspicion and would neatly explain the relaxed manner in which some police reacted to the business invasions. If the group of 12 were behind this exercise which has turned KZN and parts of Gauteng into a war zone, then they need to be in orange overalls as soon as is humanly possible.
As the Ministers flail about ineffectually, there seems to be a move on their part to try and pin this catastrophe on a specific target. They haven’t found one yet, but they’re trying. They are now issuing “stern warnings” and threats. The favourite of the moment is by the Mayor of eThekwini who welcomed the protests, called for the release of Zuma, and has now ordered citizen to take down the barricades protecting their homes and businesses. The community has answered with one voice: No. Actually, the response is universally ruder than that, but no will suffice here. If it weren’t for the citizens themselves, along with the heroic private security companies, the damage to KZN would have been far, far greater.
No matter what comes out in the months ahead, as KwaZulu-Natal strains to rebuild businesses, deal with mass unemployment and face the fact that countless weapons and ammunition have been looted from the harbour and armouries, at least one Minister will be blamed. If not all three.
Issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA Shadow Minister of State Security, 15 July 2021