Busa calls on government to address causes of July 2021 unrest

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The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Business Unity South Africa, Cas Coovadia, has called on government to carefully address the causes of the July 2021 unrest to avoid a possible repeat.

He dismissed perceptions that the country’s socio-economic conditions fuelled the July 2021 unrest. Coovadia was testifying before the Human Rights Commission in Sandton, north of Johannesburg.

The commission is probing the week-long violence and looting that caused more than R50 billion worth of damages to businesses and infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Coovadia says while he blames certain individuals for fuelling the unrest, government should create an environment that is good for investment to deal with the socio-economic challenges the country faces.

“I wouldn’t say the socio-economic fuelled the unrest but it was fuelled by other people. And I think they took advantage of the socio-economic conditions, to encourage people to loot. That’s our view. But undoubtedly the condition is detrimental to business growth. That’s why we are saying we need an environment that can create an economy such that the majority of the people have a stake like creating jobs and creating small-medium businesses.”

Monday’s Human Rights Commission proceedings:  

Ethekwini Executive Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda also testified. He described as racist, the killings of black people by Indians at Phoenix north of Durban.

“So, when people decide to kill a child who was fetched by a mother from the hospital, who’s young as well, she called the Uber driver to fetch them from the hospital and the driver was killed as well in front of them. The young mother of this country who was alarmed is also shot at, what do I call that? I call that racism because there’s no other better word.”

Kaunda’s statements on Zuma

He refuted perceptions that his support to former President Jacob Zuma on social media platforms could have incited violence.

“I do not think that my statements added on what transpired because they were even said in 2005, it’s not a new statement. So even by then, it would have created violence, if it can now be viewed like that it can incite violence. It has been said then by many leaders. I can even quote them when they were addressing one day and attending to the court cases of the court hearing of the former President Jacob Zuma.”

Businesses assisted 

Kaunda told the commission that several businesses were financially assisted after the July 2021 unrest. He says this was done after a thorough assessment of the damages caused to businesses.

“After assessing the challenges caused by the damages we also initiated a fund which looks into a combination of challenges. So it was COVID and unrest funding for small emerging businesses that were assisted. So, we gave them R30 000 each business to try and look at their resuscitation.”

The July unrest left about 350 people dead both in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The hearings continue.