Poverty and hunger a ticking time bomb, says Abahlali baseMjondolo
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Johannesburg - The Abahlali baseMjondolo movement says poverty and hunger were a ticking time bomb in the wake of the protests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in the last few days.
Police confirmed 72 people have died while 1 234 have been arrested in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Movement president S'bu Zikode says while supporters of former president Jacob Zuma may have sparked the fire, he doesn’t believe the current protest and looting in its entirety is based on the former president’s incarceration.
Zikode says they have always warned that the anger of the poor can go in many directions. “We have warned again and again that we are sitting on a ticking time bomb.
“We have warned for too long that people can’t continue to live in terrible poverty only to be ignored year after year. We have made it clear that people will not allow their humanity to be vandalised forever. For too long we have been explaining that we are ruled with violence and that the public often accept this by their silence.”
He is of the opinion that people who started taking food from shops said that they are starving and have nothing to do with Zuma and are not doing anything for him.
“Many people were hungry before Covid-19. Now they have been starving since March last year. Many lost jobs and those few who were getting the R350 grant which was making a difference to their lives, have lost it. More than 74% of the youth are unemployed.”
According to Zikode, the deployment of the army could escalate the situation, resulting in more deaths.
He has called on government to refrain from addressing the people through television screens. “People who say that they are leaders should be on the ground, with the people, in this crisis.”