National Assembly house chairperson for committees, Cedric Frolick, has revealed that Parliament is set to investigate the deadly civil unrest that the country witnessed two weeks ago.
The violence, which has been widely seen as an expression of anger and frustration by people living in poverty, was also worsened by the impact of Covid-19. It was ostensibly sparked by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma.
Speaking to the SABC, Frolick said following oversight visits in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, it was clear that Parliament required more information on the unrest.
“The parliamentary process allow for committees to do inquiries. In this instance after discussing with the house chairperson in the National Council of Provinces [NCOP] because they have an important role to play… we have come to the conclusion that it will be important for a joint process between the committee of police as well as the committee in the [National] Council of Provinces to start digging a little bit deeper to find out where does this come from, what has occurred, why were there lapses and why are we still sitting with unexplained questions.” he said.
While Frolick questioned whether the State Security Agency (SSA) had an intelligence report on the riots prior to the incidences occurring, he said Parliament was looking to begin with the investigation as soon as possible.
President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged government’s unpreparedness for the violence, describing the incidences as a “failed attempted insurrection”.
This is in contrast to the statements made by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, who have continuously insisted the violence had nothing to do with a coup.
Dlodlo and Police Minister Bheki Cele have also been at odds over whether the South African Police Service (Saps) was provided with intelligence reports about the violence that left more than 300 people dead, with Dlodlo insisting that police had such information.
However, Cele has disputed Dlodlo’s claims.
On the contradictory statements made by the ministers over the unrest, the ANC MP said such actions were “unacceptable” and “drastic action” would be taken.
“What gone down doesn’t bode well for the image of the security services in the country and drastic action will have to be taken to ensure that that image is restored,” he said.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has since called for Ramaphosa to reshuffle his Cabinet.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said the reshuffling was needed because “trust in Ramaphosa’s administration is at an all-time low”.
“Confidence in South Africa is at an all-time low and only a wholesale Cabinet clean-up is going to get people to believe in this country again.
“Structural reform has never been more urgent. Any minister standing in the way of progress must be summarily replaced,” he said.