If this anarchic violence isn’t stopped, SA’s democracy will die


If this anarchic violence isn’t stopped, SA’s democracy will die

Whatever their causes, the unchecked rioting and looting are threatening the nation’s foundation of law and order

Ebrahim Harvey

SA this week experienced probably the most destructive anarchic violence in its history. It appeared to be largely a consequence of the 15-month jail sentence meted out to former president Jacob Zuma by the Constitutional Court two weeks ago. But the irony of this clearly orchestrated and devastating mass brutality, which led to widespread looting, largely in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, is that it probably is an extension of and connected to the unlawful mayhem which began in Nkandla last week in reaction to his sentencing.

After many hours of watching this shocking news on television and listening to the accompanying commentary, I found a distinct paucity in understanding of the causal factors underlying the widespread destruction of property, looting and violence. Even during the worst brutality of the apartheid era we did not see such horrendous and widespread looting.

In other words, never before has “law and order” or the “rule of law” been more flagrantly violated through mass violence which did not spontaneously erupt, but was clearly orchestrated, probably by elements among fervent supporters of Zuma bent on using it to secure his release. But that is precisely the point at which a line must be drawn in the sand. Failure to do so and submission to such flagrant anarchy is going to prove counterproductive in the extreme because it will set the most horrendous precedent. One which we will all bear the ghastly burden of in every respect of our lives and in every conceivable manner. ..

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