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WATCH | Frontline: Cops or robbers? SA’s need for criminal justice reform after #UnrestSA

If one thing was clear following the unrest that broke out in KwaZulu-Natal and which spread to Gauteng earlier this month, it was that our security cluster was not up to scratch. 

Violence and looting were sparked by the arrest and jailing of former president Jacob Zuma after he failed to follow a court order to appear before the Zondo Commission. 

Initially, analysts linked the unrest to anger over socio-economic hardships and frustrations related to the pandemic’s lockdown regulations, but, as the days wore on and attacks were carried out on key infrastructure, questions were raised whether it wasn’t something more.

The government then started speaking about an “economic sabotage” before President Cyril Ramaphosa labelled it an insurrection, despite mixed messaging from his defence minister. 

READ | #UnrestSA: ‘Political paralysis’ at heart of violence and looting, experts say

Regardless of whether the riots were a result of socio-economic circumstances or an attempted coup, it left the government with egg on its face. It showed an intelligence and police service wholly underprepared and, in some cases, absent, even when the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was deployed. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred

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