News / South Africa

Steven Tau
2 minute read
13 Feb 2017
6:45 am

The country is at a violence ‘tipping point’

Steven Tau

'Not only are we an angry nation, but we are also frustrated. Something has to give.'

Security personnel remove Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP out of Parliament during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on February 09, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. There was chaos, violence and insults as EFF members fought back as they were forcefully ejected from the chamber after holding up proceedings for nearly an hour, accusing Zuma of being a 'constitutional delinquent'. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

The prognosis for sustaining democracy and peace in South Africa is not good, according to the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR).

Executive director Nomfundo Mogapi said: “Not only are we an angry nation, but we are also frustrated. Something has to give.

“All politicians, irrespective of which political organisation they belong to, need to start useful engagements and/or dialogues.

“But citizens also have an equally critical role to play. They can also say ‘we are tired of the violence … you [politicians] must do something or we will withhold our votes’.”

Mogapi said violent conduct needed to be stopped urgently and the starting point was the authorities.

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“Citizens still cannot unlock themselves from the cycle of violence they are watching. The implications of politically motivated differences spilling into communities are not good. The country is at a tipping point.”

After being forced out of parliament last week, EFF leader Julius Malema said the “battle will go to the streets”, and Mogapi said there was reason to be concerned.

“We have seen countries that were gripped by conflict, and it is difficult to rebuild a country, as it can take years or even decades.

“When frustrated, South Africans resort to violence, [including] from the state, which – in an attempt to restore order – responds to community frustrations by securitisation and militarisation. When force is used, it can lead to more violence,” she said.

Political analyst professor Andre Duvenhage agreed.

“Our country is even more unstable since 1994 and, without a doubt, if the situation continues unabated, we will enter a full revolution phase.

“Citizens are angry and frustrated over the lack of service delivery, while the #FeesMustFall issues remain unresolved.”

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