Debate on EFF Motion

Jul 6, 2023 | Speeches

06 JULY 2023

Hon. Speaker,
Her Excellency, the Premier,
Hon. VF Hlabisa, Leader of the Official Opposition in absentia,
Hon. Members,

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his address to the nation on 5 August 2021, said: “Three weeks have passed since the country experienced an orchestrated campaign of public violence, destruction and sabotage. While calm has been restored to the affected areas and our law enforcement agencies are working hard to bring those responsible to justice, we have acknowledged that our security services were found wanting in several respects. As part of the critical measures, we are undertaking to strengthen our security services and to prevent a recurrence of such events, I am appointing an Expert Panel to lead a thorough and critical review of our preparedness and the shortcomings in our response.”

Noting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s own admission about incompetence on the part of government, the IFP believes that the ANC-led government is to blame for the death of people in Phoenix.

Further, on 3 August, Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, announced that 152 firearms from four security companies and 112 illegal firearms were seized during the police raid in Phoenix. We need to hang our heads in shame as the incompetent ANC government brought the country into disrepute.

After the unrest, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) launched an inquiry, which was the first leg of the inquiry into the July Unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The testimonies laid bare the dysfunctional state of South Africa’s justice, crime prevention and security cluster. During the inquiry, members of the cluster engaged in buck-passing and blame-gaming, with no one taking responsibility for failing to prevent the unrest.

The former KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, stated that the State Security Agency (SSA) failed to sound the warning bells of any imminent threat on the horizon. Further, former acting Director-General of the State Security Agency (SSA), Loyiso Jafta, during his testimony before the Zondo Commission, stated that the Agency had been abused for political and private interests for years.

Jafta detailed how the Agency was commandeered into running illegal operations and funding the ANC’s factional activities, instead of being earmarked to better capacitate the security cluster. He also testified that qualified officials were leaving the security forces and being replaced by politically-minded individuals, who lacked experience. Considering all the above, it vindicates the IFP, which has on numerous occasions questioned the effectiveness of the Crime Intelligence Unit in the Province.

The IFP maintains that the Unit has a responsibility to be on the ground, gathering information. Firstly, to prevent atrocities from taking place, and secondly, to arrest those who plan to commit these crimes. However, on numerous occasions, criminals appear to be streets ahead of the Unit, as has been the case with regards to the high rate of vehicle theft in uMkhanyakude.

While the IFP shares the pain of other political parties and concerned citizens with regards to the violent riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng during July 2021 – where 36 people were reported to have been killed in Phoenix – it is against the promotion of violence instead of promoting social cohesion. This imbroglio encompasses many different views. According to different witnesses, police refused to intervene, even after they had been told that criminal acts were being committed not far away from the police station itself. The insinuation is that the police were complicit in the bloodshed.

The IFP believes that what happened in Phoenix and in other areas where murders with deep racial undertones were committed should be condemned, and the culprits appropriately punished. No death should be celebrated, irrespective of what the reason might be.

Social cohesion is often identified as ‘solidarity’ and ‘togetherness’. Community cohesion lies at the heart of what makes a safe and strong community. Effectively delivering community cohesion also tackles the fractures in society that may lead to conflict and ensures that the gains that changing communities bring are a source of strength to local areas. Community cohesion is therefore critical to the quality of life of local people and, as community leaders, local authorities have an essential role to play in facilitating this. Cohesive communities are communities that are better able to tackle common problems, to provide mutual support and to work together for a positive future.

When the violence erupted, the IFP acted to quell the violence and restore peace.

IFP founder and IFP President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, took upon himself to quell the violence as he visited Phoenix, where he hailed Phoenix residents who protected businesses, homes, and their neighbours as heroes, but slammed racist vigilantes. Besides that, he intervened in Ulundi, together with the IFP’s leadership, the Mayor and the community standing together in cooperation with law enforcement to restore calm.

During Prince Buthelezi’s visit to Phoenix, the floodgates of hatred opened against him. Hundreds of social media posts wished a slow and painful death on him.

Prince Buthelezi is an architect of social cohesion, as he has shown tremendous respect for all people, irrespective of their race or status. It is unfortunate that the leading party responsible for leading social cohesion hates other political leaders with a passion. How can they be capable of bringing peace and stability, let alone manage social cohesion. When they talk of His Excellency, Mr Mandela, all is well, but when we talk of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, we are committing an unforgivable sin.

In the 2017 World Internal Security and Police Index, measuring the ability of police and other security forces to keep a country, and its people, safe, South Africa ranked 89th out of the 127 nations covered, making it the 39th worst police force globally. The Index was based on an assessment of four main categories, looking at the capacity, process, legitimacy and outcomes of a security and police force. Capacity takes into account the numbers of security officials, including police, private security, prison security and armed forces.

Our justice system favours criminals more than the police and ordinary citizens, especially crime victims. It is shocking that our communities have lost trust in the police, but prefer to report crime to crime-fighting organizations, such as isiKebhe. The IFP is calling on the government to address the problems in our crumbling criminal justice system. Police must be given stronger powers and protection, even if it calls for the Constitution to be amended. The fact of the matter is that police arrest criminals and are then let down by the courts, which release criminals.

Lastly, the IFP notes the point raised by the EFF, where it called for the establishment of a special fund for victims of the Phoenix massacre. The IFP would suggest amending this to include other victims, such as those of disasters, as well as informal businesses, as they play an integral part in our economy. What happened in South Africa in 2021 should not have happened and it must never happen again.

I thank you.

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