UNREST l The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen has written to President Ramaphosa to request a meeting between himself, the leaders of the opposition parties, the Minister of State Security, Ayanda Dlodlo and the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to establish precisely what happened in the week leading up to the looting and unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, and later in Gauteng too.
Specifically, the meeting should clarify who knew what about the violence that was to come, when they knew it and what they then did about it.
Minister Dlodlo is on record having said that she handed an intelligence report to law enforcement warning of possible unrest action days before it started, and Minister Cele is on record denying that he ever had sight of such a report.
According to DA, this discrepancy needs to be cleared up.
“Our latest information is that such a notice – given “orange” status by State Security – was indeed presented to the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) on the 30th of June, and that subsequent briefings happened daily after that, warning of the threat to shopping centres and main transport routes.
“If this is the case, and if Minister Cele says that he had no sight of such a notice or briefings, then the question is: who took the decision to disregard a notice deemed serious enough to be given orange status by State Security, or to deliberately withhold it from the Police Minister, and why?,” said Steehuisen.
However, the Crime Intelligence and SAPS were caught napping, and when they eventually did respond, it was insufficient and disjointed. If it turns out that this was because a credible intelligence report was either ignored or concealed, those responsible must face the consequences. DA leader, said they certainly cannot continue to serve on the Executive,
Over 330 South Africans died in the violence, tens of billions of rands were lost to theft and damage to property and infrastructure, hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods are in peril and these events have been widely described as an attempted insurrection. The response has to be swift and decisive, and all parties need to be informed and on board.
“The meeting I have requested with the President will offer Minister Dlodlo the opportunity to set out, for of those outside the governing party, the timeline of events leading up to the violence and looting, as well as the details of the reports and briefings that were given to NATJOINTS. It will also offer Minister Cele the opportunity to explain how much of this he was privy to, and why it took Crime Intelligence and SAPS so long to react.
“It is critical that these questions are not posed and answered behind the cloak and dagger veil of secrecy that has characterised the security cluster to date, and which was heavily criticised in the Mufamadi high level panel report,” he said.
What happened in KZN and Gauteng was an attack on the citizens of the country. They deserve nothing less than full transparency and accountability.