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Poverty, inequality contributing factors to July’s civil unrest, SAHRC hears
29 November 2021, 7:46 PM

As the South African Human Rights Commission’s hearings into July’s unrest continue, witnesses say that poverty and inequality were contributing factors to the widespread looting.

The Commission which is sitting in Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal heard testimony from shack dwellers’ organisation Abahlali baseMjondolo and social science academics. The unrest claimed the lives of over 350 people in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The hearing into July’s civil unrest entered its third week in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday.

‘Riots were planned’

President of shack dwellers organisation Abahlali baseMjondolo,  Sbu Zikode says he believes that people were voicing their anger through their actions during July’s civil unrest. Zikode says he believes that people wanted to vent their anger over many issues.

“People have found other ways even if there wasn’t a Zuma moment of this nature but this was going to come. We’ve seen it coming in many ways also through the level of anger. We’ve seen this anger against migrant communities, the xenophobia, the minority groups, the LGBTIQ+ communities having been through constant attacks. The level of hate and anger that we believe is being created.”

He told the Commission that he believes the riots were planned at a political level.

“Our view is that our state security agency would have all required knowledge, competency experience and tools to have known what would happen, given to what was happening outside the former President’s residence in Nkandla before the actual looting, speaks volume not to know on the side of the police and state security agencies.”

‘Pre-existing racial mistrust’

Social Scientist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal – Professor Paulos Zulu – echoed the testimony of previous witnesses who told the hearing that they believe July’s civil unrest was planned. Zulu says looters came in after groups of people had already broken into malls.

“The crowds happened to go into areas that were already prepared for them. What do I mean by prepared? Someone would have gone ahead opened the venues into which the crowds looted. In other words, the shops, factories, in some instances. The assumption made through observation is that the ordinary rank and file did not have the equipment to break into the places that were looted.”

Zulu says that pre-existing racial mistrust was the key aspect used by individuals who wanted to render South Africa ungovernable. He says work is needed to deal with factors that create divisions in society, especially among different communities.

“Focusing on race alone as a mechanism of social cohesion, it probably not be counter-productive but it will not serve a much greater purpose. There are issues of poverty and inequalities which are not necessarily racial but could have a racial origin in the beginning. But I’m saying we have not done enough as a country to ensure that those factors which create a divisive society are attended to sufficiently. And among them, there is race, there’s the economy.”

Zulu wrapped up his testimony by urging the Commission to investigate allegations that the intelligence services worked with so-called influential people to keep certain political figures in power.

The commission’s hearings are continuing and the National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole and KwaZulu-Natal police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi are expected to give their testimony.


For more, see video link below:

Saint or Villain – De Klerk’s tainted legacy leaves South Africa divided
11 November 2021, 6:22 PM

South Africans have shared mixed reactions at the news of former apartheid South Africa president, FW de Klerk’s passing. Some have gone as far as calling for him not to get a state funeral.

De Klerk passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 85 after battling cancer.

His reputation as president of a divided South Africa seems to be following him to his grave, as South Africans share differing memories and views on the deceased elderly National Party leader.

Some political parties including the Democratic Alliance and Inkatha Freedom Party have sent heartfelt messages of condolences on the passing of the former apartheid statesman.

Social Media re-action, messages of condolences:

Local actress, Pearl Thusi did not mince her words in calling for De Klerk not to be offered a state funeral, saying if he is granted such, it would be an insult to the victims of apartheid and its legacy.

Calls not to grant him a state funeral:

Another Twitter user has shared similar sentiments to Thusi, posting a video of apartheid police assaulting a black man.

Many have questioned the praise he has been given for his role in “ushering” South Africa into democracy.

Journalist, Karyn Maughan referred to some of the apartheid crimes de Klerk never testified on, including that of Matthew Goniwe and his comrades, known as the Cradock 4.

Author and commentator, Kim Heller also labelled him as “an un-noble man whose government committed crimes against humanity.”

Questions on his legacy:

In one of his last media interviews with the SABC, De Klerk didn’t want to agree with the notion that UN declaration that apartheid was a crime against humanity. Some brought up his stubborn stance on apartheid.

Apartheid, a crime against humanity, denialism:

De Klerk passed away on Thursday morning, his family is yet to announce the date of his burial.

As voting stations close, counting stations get going
1 November 2021, 9:48 PM

IEMSA executive chair, Terry Tselane says after voting stations close at 21h00, it is time to tally the votes.

“As the voting station closes for voting, it turns into a counting station and the officials of the commission will then start counting the ballot after that they capture the results into a result slip and go to a municipality where that information is then captured into the system.”

It will be a long night for some counting stations as officials begin the process of counting the votes.

Tselane says the counting process is not always straight-forward, as a deadlock can be reached in some cases. He says an unconventional method – the casting of lots – is then used to decide who the winner is.

A coin is flipped, and the winner of the ward is determined by a coin toss.

Terry Tselane explains what happens when two candidates receive the same number of votes in a ward:

IEC commissioner Dr Nomsa Masuku says results will start showing just after midnight on the big screens at the Results Operations Centre (ROC) in Tshwane.


Young people in Pretoria share mixed views about voting
1 November 2021, 5:54 PM

Young people in the areas of Hatfield, Arcacia and Sunnyside in Tshwane have mixed feelings about voting in the 2021 Local Government Elections.

At a voting station in Hatfield, just up the road from Loftus Versfeld Stadium, youth are streaming in groups of three, four or five to cast their votes for a better City of Tshwane.

Twenty-year-old Mokgadi Ngubeni says she is not voting because she hasn’t registered, as she is not happy with the top three parties in the country.

“I have only looked at the three main parties, nothing beyond. I could have studied and looked at what other parties are doing. That is why I am not voting because I only know of these three and only looked at these three. Maybe if I looked into more and found a different party, then sure I would have voted and registered.”

Another young person, who is not voting, Ephraim Letsoalo says: “I heard people are voting today but I didn’t have time to register. To be honest I am not happy with how things are going because I see this side of Sunnyside, where I stay, the area is not hygienic.”

First-time voters

But a distance away, up the road on Park Street in Hatfield, a number of University of Pretoria students are queuing to cast their votes, some are really looking forward to it because they are voting for the first time.

Eighteen-year-old medicine student Malebo Malope, who stays in Arcadia, says she is excited about voting for the first time because she understands the power of her vote.

“I have been waiting for this time for a very long time, because growing up in a family that believes so much in your vote matters, that one vote can make a difference. For us to get to a million votes it’s a summation of one vote after the other.”

She continues, “I was raised in a way to believe that, as much as your vote may seem insignificant, it contributes towards something bigger that you’re not aware of.”

Ayanda Nzama, who came to vote with three of his friends, is also voting for the first time.

Nzama says he is yet to vote because he went to the incorrect voting station.

“I haven’t voted yet because I am at the wrong voting station, I should have gone to Arcadia Primary School. I am excited about casting my vote but indecisive about who I am voting for.”

Nzama says he will vote for change and is expecting the party he is voting for to take service delivery to the next level.

Another voter, Nhlakanipho Mahlangu says : “As an ordinary South African, someone who is not into politics, we have little say in what the government has to do, so with my vote, it is my chance to contribute in something.”

Photo Gallery of people voting:

Photos by Dinilohlanga Mekuto


Observers act as ‘auditors’ during elections, says IEMSA’s Tselane
1 November 2021, 12:08 AM

Institute of Election Management Services Africa (IEMSA) executive chair, Terry Tselane says Election observers are very important in an election process as they almost act like auditors.

Tselane says observers’ role is to check whether the electoral commission has followed generally accepted protocols and practices in order to come to a determination of whether the election was free and fair.

He further explains that the observers do not have power over the Electoral Commission but can serve as advisors.  “Nobody can interfere with the role of the electoral commission. As observers serve an advisory role, so the commission can take their report into account but is not obliged to take the report because it is just an advisory structure.”

IEC Head of Commission services, Mlungisi Kelembe says amongst the many local observer bodies present for the November 1 local government elections, they have one international observer body – the Electoral Commissions Forum of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

“It consists of 18 members from the SADC countries.”

Kelembe says they do not deploy observers and have no idea where they will be stationed, but they only receive that information when they submit their reports. He says the SADC Observers will remain in the country until the third of November.

For more on the story, listen to the audio links below: 

1- Observers’ role during elections

2- Free and fair election 




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