Political analyst professor Barry Hanyane has described as unconvincing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s testimony at the hearings of the South African Human Rights Commission’s investigation into the July 2021 riots.
Ramaphosa told the commission on Friday that the instigators of the riots were determined to exploit the most vulnerable in the country.
The imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court allegedly sparked the wave of civil unrest.
The country’s high unemployment rate and economic inequality worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic are said to have fueled much of it.
More than 350 people were killed and more than 3000 others arrested in the worst violence that South Africa had experienced since the end of apartheid.
Professor Hanyane says Ramaphosa’s testimony was what he terms sanitised.
“We could have done better, especially coming from an administration whose head could have ensured that all ministries spoke in one voice. And we ended up with the military services, the intelligence not knowing where to start, what to say and having a coordinated effort in the end. The intelligence could have been in the forefront of at least giving us a heads up to say there could be something brewing here.”
President Ramaphosa said the July unrest was a hugely humiliating event for him as President, the state and the country’s poor people whose vulnerabilities were exploited by the instigators.
In the video below, President Ramaphosa appears before the HRC Hearings:
Ramaphosa said the instigators of the riots were hell-bent on exploiting the most vulnerable in the country for their own selfish interest.
After five hours of testimony and grueling cross examination, President Ramaphosa apologised to the nation for the pain caused by the riots and the loss to businesses.
More than R50 billion was lost to the country’s economy.