Home Opinion and Features Mr President, we are at war and its time for decisive action

Mr President, we are at war and its time for decisive action


OPINION: The lack of a strong response by government to last week’s unrest fuelled the mass mob mentality, and this could easily grow into a full-scale civil war, writes Rama Naidu.

Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on patrol in Alexandra in Johannesburg. Picture Bhekikhaya Mabaso / African News Agency (ANA)

Rama Naidu

THE RULING party has been so busy looting the country and fighting among themselves for power that they had lost touch with the people on the ground.

The Zuma saga and the planned protest given the context of the lockdown in this country was ill-conceived and reckless on the part of the ANC. It was the fuse to the powder keg that was waiting to explode. This country has been simmering for years.

When ordinary people take to the streets and loot everything in sight in plain sight of the law and nothing is done for more than three days by the government the message is very clear. The rule of law no longer applies and we are at war with ourselves as a nation.

Which part of this does the president and his Cabinet not see? They have lost touch with the people who have supported them… up to now!

The president has turned up as weak and indecisive. A state of emergency should have been declared for at least 48 hours that would have cleared the streets and given the government and security forces time to get organised on the ground. The lack of a strong response is fuelling the mass mob mentality, and this could easily grow into a full-scale civil war AND I am not sounding alarmist. This is a real scenario.

Law-abiding citizens are taking the law into their own hands to protect themselves and this is taking on a racist overtone that is truly scary. Of course, it will be the poorest of the poor who will suffer the most. Expect more protest action, food shortages and increased anger at a government that is increasingly being see as a failure to govern and serve its people.

The frenzy of social media posts is fuelling the fear and the anger of millions of our citizens and unless the government shows some decisive actions now, we might never recover from the aftermath of the situation.

Mr President, it is time to bring this nation together to do something about this right now. This is our country and our future… we all have a stake in getting through this. ALL of us, not just the ANC.

* Dr Rama Naidu is the former director of the Democracy Development Programme and currently the Director of 6degreeshift, a company focusing on transformation and citizen engagement.

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of DFA.

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