Parliament will conduct two joint inquiries into the violent unrest, looting and destruction of property that gripped KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng recently. The unrest left more than 300 people dead in the two provinces.
The inquiry has been welcomed by the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa and the Democratic Alliance.
In his weekly letter on Monday, president Cyril Ramaphosa said there is still much to unearth about the events that took place over the course of the last two weeks.
The cause of the unrest is still unclear. The president called it a failed insurrection. Others say the looting was the result of a ticking time bomb, the socio-economic hardships, faced by many South Africans.
National Assembly House Chairperson of Committees, Cedric Frolick, says the probe will start as soon as possible. It will be a joint parliamentary inquiry done by both members of the NCOP and the National Assembly in the police and security portfolios.
“The visit by the parliamentary committees in GAU and KZN last week raised more questions than answers after seeing the devastation that was caused by the looting and the rioting that took place – absolute mayhem of property being destroyed and lives lost it became clear to us that we require more information. We have come to conclusion that it will be important for a joint proves to convene a committee of police as well as the committee in the council of provinces to start digging a little bit deeper to find out why are we still seating with unexplained questions. It can be done in a relatively short space of time so that when parliament reconvenes on the 18th of August there should be an interim available from all these different committees,” says Frolick.
Frolick says he and the House Chairperson for Committees in the NCOP, Jomo Nyambi, have also approved a probe to be conducted by a Joint committee of Intelligence. He says the joint committee will investigate the intelligence aspect of the unrest. Paul Hoffman from the Institute of Accountability in Southern Africa has welcomed the parliamentary inquiry into the unrest.
“Oversight over the public administration is one of the basic functions of the Parliamentary committees and the proper oversight is the exact accountability and to ensure that there is not a repeat of the unfortunate events of the first two weeks of July,” says Frolick.
The inquiry is expected to look into the Phoenix killings and racial tensions in the area between African and Indian communities.
The DA is calling on Parliament’s inquiry into the violence in KwaZulu-Natal to focus on the racial tension which has been created by social media mobilisation and some politicians around some of the killings in KwaZulu-Natal, specifically in the Indian Community of Phoenix. The DA believes this is pure and simple scapegoating to destruct from the facts and the fact are that the South African police services failed to preempt and contain the violent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal leaving vulnerable communities to fend for themselves to,” says DA member of the police committee, Andrew Whitfield.
Whitfield says the parliamentary inquiry should also focus on uniting the African and Indian Communities of Phoenix.
Update on looting and Unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng: