Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
13 Jul 2021
5:43 pm

Riots are government’s chickens coming home to roost

Sipho Mabena

The current destruction may be a sign of things to come, as despondency over poverty reach boiling point, and security services are crippled.

People carry goods as they loot from Cambridge Foods in Vosloorus in Ekurhuleni, 12 July 2021. Several shops are damaged and cars burnt in Johannesburg and surrounding areas following a night of violence. It is unclear if the looting is linked to sporadic protests following the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Michel Bega

The riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng may have started as protests against the jailing of Jacob Zuma, but this was simply the spark in a tinderbox of failed promises, poverty, and hopelessnes. The near-complete collapse of the country's intelligence services, with former agents sympathetic to the former president fingered in stoking fires, also contributed to authorities being unable to stop the situation from spiralling out of control. Former senior State Security Agency (SSA) and ANC members aligned to Zuma have been identified as key instigators of violence, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, State Security minister Ayanda Dlodlo has confirmed. During the Justice,...