Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola is set to appear before the South African Human Rights Commission's (SAHRC) national investigative hearings on Thursday into the Gauteng leg of the July 2021 unrest.
On Wednesday, Gauteng City-Region Observatory researcher Mamokete Motjomane told the commission that the informal business sector suffered a heavy blow due to Covid-19 because the government could not allow them to operate in the streets in order to feed their families and other family members that lost their jobs.
“Informal market is a lower-cost market, they are able to provide credit if you do not have money to buy food, but the government did not see them as essential service providers, and I think it showed the way in which they think about the informal traders,” she said.
However, former State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo told the commission last week that they provided the SAPS with reports that alerted them about the unrest, but Police Minister Bheki denied that they received any intelligence. He said he got the report in December. That was five months after the riots broke out.
Lamola will be the fourth Cabinet minister to appear before the hearings.
The main concern of the SAHRC is that the unrest claimed about 350 lives and caused damage to businesses (local and national) and infrastructure worth over R50 billion just in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Meanwhile, SANDF chief General Rudzani Maphwanya also explained to the commission that during the unrest, the defence force came in as a hand of support, and its main duty was to protect the national key points to allow the police to deal with the unrest. He maintained that the army was brought in not to shoot at citizens but to ensure they felt safe.