DURBAN - Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu said that the current ANC led government had a responsibility of addressing the issues around the July unrest honestly and with an intention to find out the cause.
Zulu on Wednesday said that the government needed to “dig deeper” into issues of security, politics and socio-economics and come up with the relevant solutions.
After testing positive for the Covid-19 virus, the minister testified virtually before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) during its hearing into the causes and effects of the civil unrest, which claimed more than 350 lives in KZN and Gauteng.
With municipal councils around the two provinces decaying because of malignant corruption rendering the state unable to provide basic services, Zulu said vulnerable people with nothing to lose were targets for the unrest.
Zulu believes the country has laws in place that are praised at an international level but seldom materialise into benefits for the everyday people, often leaving them in poverty and inequality.
“It is much more difficult to mobilise someone that has to take a risk of running around, a risk of being arrested, a risk of even ending up being shot at. If you have people who are happy in their environment, people who feel they belong from an economic point of view, people who think they have the basics, it is not very easy to mobilise those people. It’s easier to mobilise them when they feel they have very little to lose.
“What happened in July also set an opportunity for us, as a government, to keep asking ourselves the question about the state of our people continuously.
“I believe that this government of the African National Congress (ANC) has got a responsibility of approaching these things very honestly and frankly for no other purpose other than saying: what went wrong must be fixed.
“The only way we can find what went wrong is if we dig, dig deeper into issues of security, issues of politics and issues of socio-economy and then come up with solutions,” Zulu said.
On Monday, Professor Paulus Zulu told the inquiry that the crowd of protesters who looted and burned down civil and private buildings were probably made up of three cohorts.
The first cohort was those that live from hand to mouth, the second was those who wanted more than what they had, and the third was made up of “old vehicles” that collected long-lasting items.
“In short, the organisers had known that if they provided these avenues, there would have been natural looting,” Zulu said.
Riots ensued shortly after the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma, who was found guilty of contempt by the Concourt. Zuma, who was the ANC’s former chief strategist of its military wing, is still embroiled in a legal battle with the state.
In what many believe to be a politically orchestrated attack on the country, the unrest swept through KZN and parts of Gauteng, causing billions in damages. Malls and municipal assets were burnt in what police say was a highly strategic hit.
Post-unrest, due to the economic carnage, the level of unemployment in South Africa plummeted further in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the third quarter of 2021, Stats SA revealed the unemployment rate hit 46,6%.