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Police response to July unrest was inadequate: David Makhura

‘They still have to tell us who was orchestrating the violence’

Gauteng premier David Makhura says police did not respond adequately to the violence and looting in Gauteng in July.
Gauteng premier David Makhura says police did not respond adequately to the violence and looting in Gauteng in July.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Gauteng premier David Makhura said on Friday the response by the police to the unrest that gripped Gauteng in July was inadequate.

“I have no doubt the police were running around, but their response was not adequate,” Makhura said at the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) hearings on Friday.

“The police still have to tell us who was orchestrating the violence.”

He said the Gauteng government was unhappy with the way the events leading up to the unrest were handled.

“We were disappointed by the way in which the matter was handled. Looking at media posts, this was an organised incident. If you look at what was being called for, this was an organised and orchestrated activity to undermine the sitting head of state and the government,” Makhura said.

The looting in Gauteng, Makhura said, was a symptom of desperate conditions which were a result of the worsening economic situation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said social media postings could have fuelled the unrest.

It is common cause there were people who were not happy, but breaking the law is something else altogether.

“Social media was a powerful platform for mobilisation and alerting the authorities about what was coming. Social media was providing a lot of intelligence about what was going to come and what was organised,” said Makhura.

He said when the civil unrest hit KwaZulu-Natal, officials were worried the situation would affect Gauteng.

“The signs were clear that what was happening in KZN, there were people who were trying to organise the same in Gauteng. It is common cause there were people who were not happy, but breaking the law is something else altogether,” he said.

The unrest in Gauteng, Makhura said, did not affect key infrastructure.

“There was no major attack on key state infrastructure except the looting in shopping centres. We activated private security companies that worked closely with the police,” the premier said.

He said because the insurrection did not happen did not mean there had not been an attempt to overthrow the authorities.

“From looking at the messages on social media in the run-up to the mobilisation, you will come to the conclusion it was organised. I doubt the intention was about looting.”

TimesLIVE


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