Certain parts of South Africa are ablaze, and the blame is squarely to be laid at the feet of the entire African National Congress (ANC) leadership and their incessant and uncontrolled infighting. It is inexcusable that their political differences have led to a point where South Africa and her people are held at ransom with violence, mass looting, damage to public and private property, injury and even death.

Today the South African National Defence Force was deployed in support of a totally overwhelmed South African Police Services (SAPS) and metro police services. This is a very tricky situation where, should shots be fired, it could mean a disaster that could dwarf the Marikana Massacre.

It is even worse that South Africa must now spend time and resources to sort out this catastrophic fall-out because of the ruling party’s in-house squabbles, whilst we should be focussing all our attention on the Covid-19 pandemic and getting our economy back on track.

ANC leaders testing each other’s mettle at national executive committee meetings is one thing, but they have irresponsibly allowed their petty squabbles to spill over to the public and have even involved them by exploiting the media and social media. Months of threats made by many ANC leaders, and the thinly veiled civil war rhetoric from the ruling party’s private army, just served to exacerbate the entire matter around former President Zuma’s incarceration.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is cognisant of the fact that these so-called protest actions, ostensibly in support of Mr Zuma, are of course also symptomatic of pervasive poverty and social inequality, as well as opportunistic criminal elements.

However, the culture of violent protests and looting to express dissatisfaction has become the norm. In part, because government only stops to listen to the people’s complaints under those circumstances and because these kinds of “protests” have never been met with legal consequences in the past.

The greatest irony of all this sponsored lawlessness, is that when Mr Zuma exited office, he unequivocally stated that “I respect the prescripts of the Constitution and its consequences”. He furthermore has willingly gone to jail as a law-abiding citizen, yet the law is being broken in his name.

The UDM finds it disconcerting that the top police leadership, who ordinarily keeps the nation abreast of developments, have maintained radio silence these past two days. This has not gone unnoticed and does not inspire confidence in the nation.

The UDM is however encouraged that President Ramaphosa has deemed the matter seriously enough to have one of his family meetings tonight. As commander-in-chief, he will have received a proper briefing and it is good to hear that he will monitor the situation twice daily. However, law enforcement agencies will require strict discipline as they are entering uncharted territory with threats having been made that any means necessary will be used to prevent Mr Zuma’s detention.

The UDM adds its voice to those that have called for calm, tomorrow, and for the violence and looting to stop. Those who have made themselves guilty will have to face the consequences of their actions.

As a long-term solution, the adage of the two elephant bulls fighting that only leaves the grass trampled comes to mind, and we also call on the entire ANC leadership to stop their madness for the sake of this country.

Issued by:
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement