SA in flames: spontaneous outbreak or insurrection?

Ideas

SA in flames: spontaneous outbreak or insurrection?

Many reasons have been proffered for this week’s events. What evidence is there of organisers behind the scenes?

David Everatt

South Africans spent most of mid-July glued to news outlets, from established media to TikTok, from streaming news to old-fashioned printed words, to see just one thing: would Jacob Zuma blink? Would the country finally get some taste of revenge for the state capture (https://www.sastatecapture.org.za/), looting, destruction of institutions and threats to the country’s democracy their former president had enabled and championed? Would the rule of law win?

Zuma blinked, with a few minutes to spare, and handed himself over to police (https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/south-africas-zuma-hand-himself-over-police-foundation-2021-07-07/). An hour or so later he was booked into a rather comfy looking “state-of-the-art correctional facility” (https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/estcourt-correctional-centre-inside-the-prison-that-will-house-a-former-president-20210708) in Estcourt (which had taken 17 years to refurbish).

The rule of law won. The institutions that had been so assiduously hollowed out under the nine years of his presidency (https://www.amazon.com/Zuma-Years-South-Africas-Changing/dp/1770220887) had flexed their newfound muscle. The Constitutional Court had long held firm (https://theconversation.com/historic-moment-as-constitutional-court-finds-zuma-guilty-and-sentences-him-to-jail-163612), the police were rather more wobbly, but despite much assegai-rattling by family members and the Jacob Zuma Foundation, into prison he went. No ANC leader expressed joy, only sorrow (https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2021-07-07-anc-saddened-by-jacob-zumas-imminent-15-month-incarceration/) that the man had fallen so low (https://www.enca.com/news/zikalala-we-stand-zuma); for people not in such elevated positions it was a rare moment of jubilation (https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/zumas-sentencing-has-lifted-the-mood-of-the-country-study-reveals-20210701) in the midst of a global pandemic that has us locked down, again...

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