The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will lay criminal charges against former President Jacob Zuma’s children, Duduzane Zuma and Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema following social media comments.
“It’s time for Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla and many others who have incited violence to be held accountable for the looting and violence we have witnessed over the last few days,” said DA leader John Steenhuisen on Wednesday.
“It is completely wrong for leaders to be doing this in South Africa in a situation like this. It’s no secret that leaders of the pro-Zuma faction, as well as others with aligned interests, have been fanning the flames on social media with impunity.”
On Monday, African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte also announced the party would hold Zuma-Sambudla accountable for her social media comments thanking violent protesters for supporting her father.
“It’s not just Duduzile who is behind this. There are five others who have made similar comments on Twitter. They have made comments such as ‘let it burn’ and ‘you’ll reap what you sow’,” said Duarte during a briefing.
“She will have to answer where her utterances will lead to.”
Malema took to social media calling on EFF members to get ready to join the protests following the government’s deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“War declared on civilians. No soldiers on our streets! Otherwise, we are joining. All fighters must be ready… they won’t kill us all. We need a political solution to a political problem, not soldiers.#NoToSoldiers,” said Malema.
‘Neighbourhoods turned into war zones’
Steenhuisen said neighbourhoods such as Phoenix, Verulam and Cornubia in KwaZulu-Natal have been turned into a war zone by looters.
“The residents I spoke to are shattered by these events. They are struggling to understand how this was possible in our constitutional democracy, and how the state did not offer them, their loved ones, their property and their businesses any protection at all. They all told me today that they felt abandoned and left to fend for themselves,” he said.
“There has been no re-establishment of law and order at all – we saw buildings still burning and we saw bodies still lying in the streets.”
Steenhuisen called on Ramaphosa to ramp up the number of SANDF personnel that are deployed.
“A deployment of only 2,500 SANDF personnel, for the entire country, is far from sufficient. If government could deploy many times this number during earlier phases of lockdown to enforce lockdown regulations, then they should certainly be able to match, if not exceed, this number in a crisis such as this,” he said.
“Along with a far stronger SANDF deployment we also need to see a better allocation of SAPS resources from other parts the country to the riot hotspots. If there is indeed credible crime intelligence and defence intelligence, as claimed at the Security Cluster briefing, then this needs to be applied to the allocation of SAPS resources to where they can make a real difference.”