Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
30 Nov 2021
9:34 am

SAHRC July unrest: Riots planned at ‘high political level’

Citizen Reporter

The leader of the shack dwellers movement said there were signs of what was to come long before former president Zuma was incarcerated.

Picture: Twitter/SAHRC

On Monday, S’bu Zikode testified at the South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC’s) hearings into the July riots, on day 10 of the proceedings.

Zikode – the leader of the shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo in South Africa – was representing poverty-stricken communities.

July unrest hearings

Anger ‘over many issues’

Zikode said residents were moved by anger “over many issues” and needed to vent, and he believes people were expressing that anger through their actions in July.

However, Zikode also believes the “riots were planned at a very high political level”.

One of the indicators, he said, was how calm policed appeared at the time. He said the officers he interacted with “were not really concerned about what was happening”.

“It looks like there was an instruction from someone to stay unbiased to keep your job”, ZIkode added.

State security agencies would have known

Zikode believes South Africa’s state security agency would have had all required knowledge, competency experience and tools to have known what would happen.

He said this was especially true, given “what was happening outside the former president’s residence in Nkandla before the actual looting”.

“[It] speaks volumes not to know on the side of the police and state security agencies”.

Signs even before the July unrest

He said there were signs of what was to come long before former president Zuma was incarcerated:

“People have found other ways even if there wasn’t a Zuma moment of this nature but this was going to come. We’ve seen it coming in many ways also through the level of anger”.

“We’ve seen this anger against migrant communities, the xenophobia, the minority groups, the LGBTIQ+ communities having been through constant attacks.”

Apart from “the level of hate and anger” which lead to the riots, Zikode also believes the riots were planned at a political level.

SAHRC hearings resume

Day 11 of the SAHRC hearings resume on Tuesday, with National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole taking the stand at 9am, followed by KZN police commissioner, Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi at 1pm.

Compiled by Cheryl Kahla.