Fire security cluster ministers, share intelligence report on riots, demands DA

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard. File picture.
DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard. File picture.
Image: Michael Hammond

The DA says it welcomes the call for the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry into the recent unrest and riots in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal but wants security cluster ministers sacked. 

The party also wants an intelligence report on the protests, prompted by the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, made public because residents “deserve the full truth of why their lives and livelihoods were torn apart”.  

The remarks were made by Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA shadow minister of state security, on Monday during a media briefing in which the party outlined its expectations for the inquiry.  

The looting spree and destruction of property including shopping centres and factories cost the county R50bn and 330 lives. President Cyril Ramaphosa characterised the riots as a failed insurrection.

Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula initially disagreed with the president but made an about-turn after much criticism. State security minister Ayanda Dlodlo and police minister Bheki Cele also engaged in a public spat over an intelligence report by the State Security Agency (SSA) on the unrest.

“As the smoke clears from the looting and burning of hundred of malls, the question is who is to blame — and all eyes are turning to the security cluster, the SAPS, state security and the defence force,” said Kohler Barnard.

“Once an ad hoc committee is correctly established, the DA expects both the NCOP [National Council of Provinces] and National Assembly co-chairs to be members of the opposition; we expect the three ministers of the security cluster — Cele, Dlodlo and Mapisa-Nqakula — to be removed if the inquiry finds that they did indeed mislead the country regarding the insurrection; and the ‘redacted’ intelligence reports must be made public.”

She said the party had written to National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and the chairperson of the NCOP Amos Masondo in this regard and to ensure that correct processes were followed in setting up the inquiry.

“The speaker and NCOP chair cannot dally any longer in setting up this inquiry and the DA suggests that they convene the chief whips' forum to consult with all the chief whips, not just the chief whips of the majority party, to ensure everyone’s buy-in.

“The DA suggests that the credibility of the inquiry would be enhanced if both of the chairpersons of the ad hoc committee were drawn from the ranks of the opposition parties, and it is further suggested, in the interests of transparency, that the lead is taken by the justice committee,” she said.  

A formula to reduce the number of ad hoc committee members to a manageable size also needed to be found, according to the party, as convening a meeting with all the necessary role players “would make it difficult to engage in the sort of cross-questioning that is necessary in such an inquiry”.

While the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on police, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, confirmed the three security cluster ministers would be summoned to the inquiry, the DA said it demanded independent chairs.

“Any opportunity for a cover-up, or even the perception of a cover-up, must be removed entirely. This inquiry can therefore not be led by the parliamentary committee on police, nor its chairperson, Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

“Any attempt by the ANC to exonerate the executive and to whitewash the security cluster’s failures in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, will not be allowed.”

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