The fire this time

The fire this time

How best to describe the violence, looting and arson that has been happening in South Africa over the short period since former president Zuma finally surrendered himself following his conviction for contempt of court? Is South Africa a ‘failed state‘, as one commentary has it, or has perhaps an orchestrated insurrection been masterminded, as another puts it? In more simple terms, the coming together of the activities of the gangster state, the recourse to lawfare when politicians don’t get their own way, and the massive extent of political mixed with economic corruption summarised as state capture, have all had their effects. What is certain is that the parallel state that exists composed of these elements is highly organised at the top though ramshackle and disparate at the bottom and, although easily brought onto the streets using social media, then becomes unamenable to ease of control. Some of the social media feeds that have been published by investigative journalism indicates instructions were circulated not to target black businesses, although in practice these have been affected just as badly and in some areas even worse. And it is clear who will suffer the most from the food and other shortages that will now ensue: the poorest and most disenfranchised, largely composed of black people.

Last updated:  15 July 2021


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