DA: Parly inquiry into unrest not an attempt to protect ANC

The party has held a media briefing outlining its expectations from the planned inquiry.

FILE: People carry goods as they loot and vandalise the Lotsoho Mall in Katlehong township, East of Johannesburg, on 12 July 2021. Several shops are damaged and cars burnt in Johannesburg, following a night of violence. Police are on the scene trying to control further protests. It is unclear if this is linked to sporadic protests following the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Phill Magakoe / AFP

CAPE TOWN/DURBAN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday that a parliamentary inquiry into the recent unrest and security failures should not be seen as an attempt to protect the ANC from accountability.

- Riots and looting a reminder of how deep SA's problems run - Ramaphosa
- Long read: Past and present push Phoenix over edge

The joint inquiry of both houses will start once a resolution is passed by both the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.

The inquiry was was delayed until proper joint rules in establishing the inquiry had been properly applied.

But the DA said the country needed answers once the inquiry was properly established.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said, “There are questions our nation needs answers to [and] many of these coalesce around ANC factional battles. The reality is to ensure credibility of this process to ensure public support that the outcome is properly determined, this process cannot in any manner to be seen as allowing attempts to save ANC careers and even protect members of individual factions within that political parties.”

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said it was clear that proper parliamentary rules were not followed last week and expected the inquiry to proceed.

“The DA will be writing to the speaker of the national assembly and chairperson of NCOP to outline our expectation of this parliamentary inquiry.”

DA leader John Steenhuisen said on Monday that the time had arrived for President Cyril Ramaphosa to hold government officials, including ministers accountable following the civil unrest that gripped the nation.

Steenhuisen said the country needed to understand why the security cluster was found wanting three weeks ago.

“So, what I have asked the president is for a meeting between opposition leaders and himself and Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and Minister Bheki Cele, so we can get them in the same room and find out who knew what and when they knew it and what they did about it. Because, two of them are scrapping at each other about it and who alerted who to the problems, etc. And why were the police not ready?”

At the same time, Steenhuisen, who visited KwaZulu-Natal communities affected by looting, said the town of Phoenix, north of Durban was being used as a scapegoat following the unrest that resulted in more than 330 deaths and with billions of rands lost in looting and damage to property.

“What happened in Phoenix happened because there was a vacuum, because the people responsible for law and order, the SAPS and the metro were absent.”

Steenhuisen was expected to address the media, following the community visits on Tuesday.

The DA’s Dianne Kohler Barnard said ministers in the security cluster including Cele and Dlodlo must be fired if the inquiry found that they had misled the country.

She said all evidence suggested that there was zero preparation by law enforcement in the run up to the unrest.

“However, it is argued that they should have also been aware of the situation of the integrity of the country being under threat. Now, these are some of the questions that the inquiry must ask and after that, heads must roll.”
Barnard called for intelligence reports on the unrest to be made public.

The party said Speaker Thandi Modise and NCOP Chairperson Amos Masondo could not wait any longer in setting up the inquiry and suggested that they convene the Chief Whips Forum to start the process.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.