A panel of experts who investigated the cause of last year’s deadly July unrest has found that former President Jacob Zuma’s rejection of the decisions of the state capture commission was a major factor in the build-up to the violence and looting that led to a loss of lives and wiped billions from the economy.
Although President Cyril Ramaphosa labeled the violence as an attempted insurrection, the report of the panel released on Monday paints a picture of a fractured country with weakened systems that enabled anarchy.
In their analysis, the panelists said a combination of complex, multi-dimensional, and obscure factors formed the background that led to the outbreak of violence.
The panel said the looting, destruction, and violence may have come and gone but little had changed in the conditions that led to the unrest
While former President Zuma’s short incarceration blew the lid on the tensions that had been bubbling under for some time, the panel has pointed out various other factors that made the environment ripe for the deadly anarchy last July.
At the heart of this, was the failure of the State Security Services to predict the form that the violence would take, despite the national intelligence estimate showing that 2021 would be a period of heightened instability in the country.
The report finds that besides not solving deep structural issues such as poverty and unemployment that made it easy for poor people to join in the lawlessness, the response by security services was not timeous, appropriate or sufficient.
However, it also finds fault with the executive that the panel said must carry some blame for lapses in leadership before and during the chaos.
Several recommendations are made ranging to political considerations, especially in the ANC and the powers of ministers versus their undue involvement in operational issues.
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