Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

'No time for cover-ups during parliamentary inquiry into looting and violence’

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Aug 3, 2021

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Cape Town - The DA has called for full transparency to avoid any cover-ups during the much-anticipated Parliamentary inquiry into the deadly violence and looting that hit the country less than a month ago.

The party on Monday held a briefing outlining its expectations of the inquiry. DA Shadow Minister of State Security, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said she had written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Amos Masondo, to ensure that the correct processes were followed in setting up the ad hoc committee.

With former president Jacob Zuma's court date at the Pietermaritzburg High Court also nearing (August 10), the opposition's Shadow Minister for Defence, Kobus Marais, said the security forces should be on standby should there be any threat of insurrection.

Shortly after Zuma’s arrest, days of deadly and violent looting broke out in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng. Police Minister Bheki Cele and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo were criticised for their failure to respond to the unrest in a speedily manner.

Now calls are mounting for Cele and Dlodlo to be brought to book in a Parliamentary inquiry, as the two had contradictory versions as to why their departments did not responded effectively. The SANDF was also deployed to the provinces to assist the police.

Due to procedural issues, the inquiry could not start last week as intended.

In Monday’s virtual briefing, Kohler Barnard said the party expected the three ministers of the security cluster, Cele, Dlodlo, and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to be removed if the inquiry finds that they did indeed mislead the country regarding the insurrection; and the “redacted” intelligence reports must be made public.

"Residents in KZN and Gauteng deserve the full truth of why their lives and livelihoods were torn apart.”

The party suggests that a formula be found in order to reduce the number of ad hoc committee members to a manageable size, as convening a meeting with all the necessary role-players, including the portfolio committees in the National Assembly for Police, Justice and Correctional Services, and Defence and Military Veterans, as well as the Joint Standing Committees of Defence and of Intelligence, and the Select Committee for Security and Justice of the NCOP, would make it difficult to engage in the sort of cross-questioning that is necessary in an such an inquiry.

Kohler Barnard added that the inquiry cannot be led by the parliamentary committee on police, nor its chairperson, Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

“The DA suggests that the credibility of the inquiry would be enhanced if both of the chairpersons of the ad hoc committee were drawn from the ranks of the opposition parties, and it is further suggested, in the interests of transparency, that the lead is taken by the justice committee.”

Regarding Zuma’s court appearance, Marais said he was sure there would be sufficient security presence at the court, and certain strategic points, should there be any threat of violence.

“We have seen that the presence of the defence force has made a significant impact on what has transpired on the ground. Any effort of unruly behaviour or insurrection will be combated by the defence force, and hopefully the police as well.”

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Political Bureau

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