State of emergency may be solution

A general view of burning trucks after violence erupted following the jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma, in Durban.
A general view of burning trucks after violence erupted following the jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma, in Durban.
Image: Rogan Ward

Unemployment, poverty, inequality, political infighting and backstabbing, political opportunism, instigation and criminal infiltration create conditions for a perfect storm.

The fact that KwaZulu-Natal was the original hotspot for riots points a finger at the Jacob Zuma element, but the other elements mentioned above have since become dominant and gathered momentum.

In my book, the Zuma element has been overtaken by the other elements, but political opportunists are trying to keep that alive to promote their cause. What is happening here follows the classic pattern of all protests that turn violent here and elsewhere in the world.

An added factor is the impact of restriction on economic activity necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. As someone once said: "If your neighbour goes to bed hungry, you cannot sleep peaceful."

The government has identified the main causes and patterns and announced steps to prevent this from spreading further. It now seems that a state of emergency, at least in the hotspots, is under discussion.

I salute pockets of civil society across all divides taking a stand against the violence and looting and taking measures to protect property and shops. A state of emergency is a drastic step with its own challenges and implications, but may sadly become necessary.

Developments over the next 48 hours will be decisive for the road ahead.

Dawie Jacobs, Sterrewag, Pretoria

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