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Two years on, very little has been done to bring the 2021 July unrest instigators to book

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Two years on, very little has been done to bring the 2021 July unrest instigators to book

Two years on, very little has been done to bring the 2021 July unrest instigators to book
Photo by Reuters

10th July 2023

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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by Polity.org.za, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by Polity.org.za.

The GOOD Party is concerned that the criminal justice system’s investigation and prosecution of the instigators of the July 2021 insurrection appears to have made little progress, two years after the deadly violence erupted in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

In July 2021 our country’s economy was brought to its knees by wide spread unrest and looting.

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Over 300 people died in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. And the economic damage is estimated to be at least R50-million.

It is believed the protests were sparked by the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma but it soon turned into a well-orchestrated attack consisting of widespread arson, sabotage, looting and lawlessness.

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The South African Police were unable to control the mounting crowds and eventually the South African National Defence Force was deployed to assist.

At the time Police Minister Bheki Cele said 12 instigators had been identified and would face the full might of the law.

But two years later the real instigators have not been held accountable.

In August 2021, I handed over evidence to the Hawks implicating 26 alleged instigators.

Whistleblowers in the ANC, gave me evidence relating to three predominantly KwaZulu-Natal focused WhatsApp groups named "Ethekwini Shutdown", "Ink Shutdown 10/07/2021", and "Free Zuma Information".  

I subsequently received further information relating to a Gauteng WhatsApp group named "Joburg Activists Home".

Assisted by researchers and members of the public, we managed to identify 26 people who appeared to be participants in the violence and looting.

Whistleblowers are key in the fight against corruption. However our justice system continues to fail them when swift action is not taken. 

Whistleblowers risk their jobs and safety by coming forward and the current laws do not protect them.

Over the weekend government continued to pass the buck. Police Minister, Bheki Cele said at least 63 people had been arrested but referred the media to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to ask why no one had been sentenced.

The 2021 July unrest is a grim reminder of how easily the tinder-box of South Africa’s inequality can be exploited for the instigation of lawlessness. 

We cannot rest until those who instigated the insurrection are brought to book. Nor can we ignore the persistent failure to address inequality and poverty.

 

Issued by GOOD: Secretary-General & Member of Parliament Brett Herron

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