Mr President, axe the ‘deplorables’ and prosecute state looters

Ideas

Mr President, axe the ‘deplorables’ and prosecute state looters

Then, let’s all learn a lesson from the Muslims, who quietly demonstrated how to be human after last week’s mayhem

Columnist

Now that the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled, what needs to be done so we do not end up in another horrific spiral of violence and anarchy that last week almost unrailed our young democracy? Here are some must-dos to prevent a recurrence.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, as the head of government, needs to clean up the political mess in his leadership team. Where was governmental leadership in this crisis? According to the president, “we were poorly prepared ... we did not have the capabilities and plans in place”. Spare us, sir, and please stop acting surprised. You were not caught off guard; in every part of the security apparatus your leadership was asleep at the wheel. As more than one commentator has observed, this crisis has been brewing for years and allowed to fester. Take your pick. The minister of police, Bheki Cele, and its commissioner, Khehla Sitole. The long-compromised intelligence services about which books have been written. The R4bn slashed in visible policing.

Then, as if on cue, the president announces an insurrection, only for his defence minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to say there was no insurrection. In another era, former president Thabo Mbeki dismissed his deputy minister of health, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, for what he called “your inability to work as part of a collective”. Mbeki was absolutely correct in exercising decisive leadership with respect to a senior member of his cabinet...

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