Cape Town - Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele and Deputy Minister Zizi Kodwa have warned that social tensions and growing poverty were ticking time bombs that must be avoided.
They said the High Level Review Panel report by Professor Sandy Africa had identified some of these issues and they must be addressed.
Gungubele said social tensions, the destruction of critical infrastructure, violence and disregard for the law were posing a security threat to the country.
He said these issues must be tackled before they get out of hand.
Kodwa also said the destruction of infrastructure and lawlessness must be addressed.
Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel two weeks ago said cable theft cost the economy R46 billion a year.
Some of the ministers want the sale of copper cable to be banned in the country.
Eskom, Prasa and other critical infrastructure are targets of syndicates who are damaging railway infrastructure and power stations to steal copper cables.
The country was mulling a law that would ban or regulate the sale of copper cable.
Gungubele said they need to address the social issues and other tensions as identified in the Sandy Africa report.
“If we do not attend to these immediate challenges, we run the risk of being exposed once again to the unfortunate incidents of July and no one wants to experience such upheaval once again in our country,” said Gungubele.
Kodwa also called for the state to heed early warnings by intelligence agencies.
This was after the Sandy Africa report found that the early warning by the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (Nicoc) was not heeded by government.
“If we are to avoid the recurrence of July and potential upheavals in the future, we have no choice but to focus on what Nicoc is directing us to do,” said Kodwa.
He said the growing levels of poverty, inequality and social tensions were identified in the report but not acted on.
He said they were concerned about the state of the security in the country.
This related to people not obeying the law and chaos in some communities.
“We are redoubling our efforts together with law enforcement agencies to combat these mindless acts of violence, economic sabotage and lawlessness. The destruction and sabotage of critical infrastructure and national key points, including cable theft and mindless targeting and torching of state institutions, must come to an end,” said Kodwa.