sa government

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses Pre-WEFA breakfast session hosted by Brand South Africa. Photo: GCIS

Pressure mounting on SA government to crack down on lawlessness

All eyes on Cape Town to monitor the government’s response.

sa government

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses Pre-WEFA breakfast session hosted by Brand South Africa. Photo: GCIS

Pressure is mounting on the South African government to crack down on the general lawlessness in the country, with four forms of antisocial behaviour under specific scrutiny.

On Wednesday, Cape Town’s city centre was brought to a virtual standstill by a general protest against femicide and attacks on women, including the murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana, the kidnapping of Vanderbijlpark grade R student Amy-Leigh de Jager and many more.

Protesters demand audience with Ramaphosa and ministers

The bi-weekly meeting of Cabinet was disrupted as President Cyril Ramaphosa sent several ministers, including respected female ministers Dr Naledi Pandor and Lindiwe Sisulu, as well as police minister General Bheki Cele to interact with the protestors.

Illegal disruptions by truck drivers, continuing gang violence on the Cape Flats despite a failed intervention by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), and chaotic scenes of criminality in the CBDs of Johannesburg and Tshwane have added to the state of national lawlessness.

This morning, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu will be briefing the media and the country on the decisions reached by Cabinet in its meeting. The country will be expecting action steps from its leaders.

In the past, Cabinet’s responses to acts of vandalism and lawlessness were lackadaisical at best, often limited to expressing shock over, and rejection of, such behaviour, and by sending cabinet members to hotspots to find out why communities were protesting, rioting or disrupting basic service delivery.

Cape Flats’ army intervention and Gauteng xenophobia

The focus will now fall on dealing effectively with criminal behaviour. A case in point is Cape Flats gangsterism and the botched SANDF approach to it. Within days, the gangs had figured out that the army did not really have a plan. Rather, the army drove from area to area in their armoured vehicles, apparently believing the gangsters would be impressed by their presence or their armour.

The gangsters, predictably, were not. After a few days, they adapted. All they did was to suspend their activities for the passing show, and then resume them as soon as the army had commenced their travels to the next area. The death toll did not fall, the nightmare persisted.

No inputs, like, for instance, a curfew, were tried and there was no spike in the number of arrests. At the beginning of the army deployment, Ministers Cele, of Police, and Mapisa-Nqakula, of Defence, hogged the limelight, but they disappeared as their plan failed, also failing to come up with attempted new solutions.

South Africans have not been impressed, and all eyes will be on Cape Town to monitor the government’s response.