The government’s failure to hold accountable the architects of the July 2021 riots is criminal and scandalous

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply disappointed by the government’s failure to hold accountable those responsible for the wanton destruction of vital economic and community infrastructure during the July 2021 riots. 

The reports given last week by the various government departments demonstrate that our inept government is recklessly indifferent and has no capacity to resolve the country’s many intractable problems.

Half the purpose of the criminal justice system is deterrence and the failure to prosecute the architects of last year’s riots sends a wrong message to criminals in this country. The lawlessness that is spreading all across the country needs cohesive leadership from all levels of government.

It is obvious that nothing has changed from government’s disjointed response to the riots.

Municipalities, provinces, and national departments were caught off guard by last year’s riots. Our state security and law enforcement agencies do not seem to have made any progress or learned any lessons.  In some instances things have deteriorated with our SAPS headcount declining from 197 000 5 years ago to 172 000 today. The recruitment of 12 000 new SAPS members is welcome but remains insufficient against a backdrop of 10 000 expected retirements and resignations this year. We have continued to witness an overstretched and under resourced SANDF.  

It is clear that this administration needs a shake up if South Africa is to avoid another collapse of the social order.

Weak and poorly equipped law enforcement agencies and a stagnant economy continue to be a recipe for another episode of violent disturbance. Millions of South Africans remain hungry and unemployed, and they continue to be systematically isolated from the mainstream economy. The crisis on poverty, inequality and unemployment cannot be wished away but needs to be addressed without fail.  

Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794