Riots part of ANC’s failings and it's escalating into national crisis - analyst

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said that the current problem was an African National Congress (ANC) issue and should continue to be seen that way.

Protesters gesture towards police officers (not seen) as they burn tyres in Jeppestown, Johannesburg, on 11 July 2021. Picture: Luca Sola/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - As Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema calls for a political solution to a political problem, analyst Ralph Mathekga said that hastily characterising current riots as ethnic mobilisation gave them legitimacy and could easily get worse.

Malema has threatened to have his supporters join the ongoing lawlessness – this was his reaction to news that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had been deployed to help the police.

Mathekga said that the current problem was an African National Congress (ANC) issue and should continue to be seen that way.

As the ANC’s highest decision-making body in between conferences continues to meet as if all is well in the land, commentators were pointing a finger at the governing party, saying that it was responsible for the current looting.

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for the army to be deployed, others like the EFF’s Malema have argued that leaders should be out speaking to their people.

He was even putting the lives of his own fighters on the line, calling on them to take on the army.

Mathekga said that what was currently happening in the country lacked the vigour of an ethnic matter.

He said that this was part of the ANC’s failings and it was escalating into a national crisis.

"We are where we are because the ANC is failing politically with its own internal problem, it is not South Africa that is failing politically."

Mathekga said that while he understood that talking to the instigators of the riots may be seen as coddling to former President Jacob Zuma, who’s daughter, Duduzile, has been calling for a shutdown until he’s released from jail, it was a complex development, which could only be solved through though political engagement.

"I'm not saying there should be political intervention to deal with Mr Zuma's incarceration, I do believe, however, that political conversation should be held to try to de-escalate this."

The riots have been taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, with the promise to spread to other provinces.

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