Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says the country was caught off guard by the extent and impact of the July mass looting and violence that affected the freight sector. PICTURE: FILE
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says the country was caught off guard by the extent and impact of the July mass looting and violence that affected the freight sector. PICTURE: FILE

ANC’s internal battles spilled on public roads, says political analyst

By Bulelwa Payi Time of article published Sep 16, 2021

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The real focus on the upcoming local government elections would be on how much support the ruling ANC would lose, political analyst Ralph Mathekga said.

He said while the November elections would be "extremely tough" for the ANC given the challenges it continued to face, none of the opposition parties was on strong footing.

"The opposition is weak - it's going into the elections with a defeated attitude and is already talking about forming coalitions. The elections will just be about how far the ANC's own destructive path can lead it," said Mathekga.

Addressing the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF)'s conference on Thursday, Mathekga said the July mass looting in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga was a culmination of the "politics of disruption" which were now gaining centre stage.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says the country was caught off guard by the extent and impact of the July mass looting and violence that affected the freight sector. PICTURE: FILE

The conference took place amid a Cabinet Lekgotla which was expected to reflect on the state of the economy, among other issues.

In July, the industry warned that the economic effects of the mass looting on the supply chain would be far-reaching, with short-term losses already into billions of rands while the long-term impact was yet to be fully realised.

Mathekga said the ANC's internal conflicts spilled over into the public domain as evidenced by the mass looting and violence.

"If you were to ask me if there was an insurrection or not, my response would be yes and no. Some orchestrated the chaos but at the same time they did not foresee the outcome plus this also exposed a dsyfunctional local government system, especially in KZN," he said.

He attributed the "unacceptable poor response" to the mass looting to South Africans had become familiar with the incidents of "disruptions".

"Roads have become the scene where concerns and dissatisfactions by the public are raised, and trucks are used as weapons. There's been a rise in what was regarded as sporadic incidents in the past and this is affecting the backbone of the supply value chain," said Mathekga.

The mass looting and violence in July took place after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed.

On the other hand, Mathekga said the situation presented president Cyril Ramaphosa with an opportunity to implement a "long overdue cabinet reshuffle".

"Before the looting, there were people in Ramaphosa's cabinet that were not supposed to be there in the first place - and others headed parliamentary committees who were aligned to former president Jacob Zuma. The incident pushed back the party and allowed him to realign the party and the state. The crisis emboldened Ramaphosa to an extent we had not seen before," he told the conference.

He said what remained to be seen was whether he would be able to sustain the realignment process.

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