EDITORIAL | If state isn’t taking threats lightly, why aren’t instigators in the dock?
Not bringing to book those behind July’s unrest, which left 337 people dead, smacks of political damage control
There was some poetic justice in the news that Fees Must Fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile appeared in the Durban magistrate’s court on incitement to violence charges on the same day the National Shutdown campaign failed to kick off.
While Khanyile, an EFF member known as the face of the student protests, appeared in court for utterances made on Twitter during the recent deadly riots that swept through KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, his partners were back-pedalling from their big talk over the past few days. The organisers of the National Shutdown march — pro-Jacob Zuma activists calling for the removal of President Cyril Ramaphosa — said they were forced to abandon their plans at the 11th hour.
“Even though we are marching against the government, we don’t intend to go against the regulations they have put in place or do criminal acts. We did state that the march is going to be a peaceful one,” one of the organisers, Mandleynyoka Ntuli, said, explaining that the march in Durban could not go ahead because permission for the protest was not granted in time. The organisers’ newfound commitment to abide by the law is also a convenient explanation for the masses not showing up. The streets of Joburg were just as quiet on “National Shutdown” day, perhaps a further indication that the campaign has failed to gather much momentum. ..