The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation says communities needed to defend themselves in light of the state’s failure to do so and it is understandable, but it cannot come at the cost of violating the human rights of others.

The foundation says the response by the police to the recent unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng was sluggish and resulted in the loss of faith in the structures meant to protect and serve the public at large.

The Executive Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Neeshan Bolton, says the country’s security forces have failed dismally.

“I think fundamentally people were left defenceless and in that instance, you had ordinary civilians, security companies and I am told you had gang leaders and gangsters all reeling together to fight what was thought to be a threat to life and property.”

“You also have instances of people who appeared to have been going to look for either food or petrol and simply because they were African they were abused and they died. Now in that instance the need to defend one set of life you could not justify the taking of life on the other side. Fundamentally had the state done its job it should not have come to that kind of point where people had to do the work of policing,” adds Neeshan.

Clean up operations following unrest

Several community organisations have rallied together to clean up. This after the mass looting, rioting and civil unrest resulted in shops, malls and centres being raided and trashed by suspected opportunistic criminals.

Roads are clear of trash and debris but some community members still have barricades in place and have been seen huddled around fires to keep warm whilst on night patrol.

In Berea, several South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members made their way into the area to boost patrols with police and community members.

Clean up operations in Gauteng