The explosion of violence around the country is a clear indication that SA’s national security apparatus is dysfunctional and needs an urgent overhaul, say experts.
Political analyst Sandile Swana said despite the lessons the government should have learned from the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng, the state had failed to devise a strategy to respond appropriately to such incidents.
The ongoing service delivery riots in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, and the recent alleged gang rape of young women in Mogale City, Krugersdorp, should be seen against this background.
Another expert, Prof Dirk Kotze, political scientist from the University of South Africa, said the alleged Krugersdorp incident had wider implications with regards to gender-based violence, poor migration policy and accompanying xenophobic attitudes.
The fact that the zama zamas (illegal miners) were heavily armed meant there was some security threat. “Strictly speaking, crime intelligence should be involved in the zama zamas, but not much is being done at the moment,” Kotze said.
Swana said despite the review panel on the State Security Agency, chaired by Dr Sydney Mufamadi, that identified incapacity and massive chaos in both internal tus quo remained.
There was an urgent need to deal with both organised crime and growing terrorism in the country.
Swana said it was shocking that the brains and funders behind what he called last year’s “insurrection” had still not been arrested or prosecuted.
“Most of them, you may well discover, are senior members of the ANC, which proves to [President Cyril] Ramaphosa and his billionaire supporters they are not in charge of the country.
“I am convinced that with these groups that come to organise cash heists, mass murders and so on, there are sinister motives and sinister forces behind them.
“This is no longer crime, this is terrorism,” Swana said.
He said reports had shown that police numbers had been declining over the last decade and the quality of police training was questionable.
The state security apparatus should work with private security, community policing forums and rural safety committees to combat crime in the country.
“Even the apartheid state that established boere commandos, did better,” he said.
Every area of South Africa should have well-trained men and women who are fully in charge of security, 24 hours a day to work with the police in fighting crime.
He suggested part of solution to criminality was for municipalities like Mogale City and others with crime hotspots to appoint patrollers who would be peace officers with powers of arrest.