By: The Daily News
DURBAN – Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu acknowledged that extreme poverty, unemployment, inequality and judicial overreach fuelled the recent chaos the country was plunged into after the riots that erupted in the country.
On Tuesday Sisulu visited some of the families who had lost their loved ones to offer her condolences and also to speak to the community who had lost some of their belongings when their shacks in informal settlements were burned during the riots.
“As a parent, I know what you are going through and I do not wish for anyone to lose their child in the manner in which we lost our people in Phoenix. We will not rest until all criminals have been arrested.”
Community members expressed their gratitude to Sisulu for visiting the area where over 20 people were killed during the protests.
She also visited the family of Msizi Madlokovu, 27, of Inanda’ who was brutally murdered in Phoenix on his way from work.
In a live interview on Monday on Ukhozi FM, Sisulu, who is also the ANC deployee in KwaZulu-Natal, said the unrest had multiple causes.
The Constitutional Court ruling, criticised by dissenting justices on the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, sentencing him to 15 months’ imprisonment for being in contempt of court without a trial, only served to deepen perceptions that Zuma was subjected to discriminatory treatment, she said.
The deepening economic crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic made the situation worse as many people became increasingly anxious, she added.
Commending the role played by the KZN provincial leadership, she said the ANC had deployees assigned to the province, including additional deployments of national leaders to ensure that the situation was contained.
“We were all concerned about what the reaction to Zuma’s imprisonment would be. Fortunately, the people around Nkandla co-operated fully with police. The provincial leadership made it clear they were unhappy with the handling of the Zuma matter because they knew, they read the mood and anticipated the anger from the people,” she said.
It was now important to find one another for the sake of social cohesion, she said, but stressed that the loss of lives was a tragedy that could not just be forgotten as those who lost their loved ones wanted justice.
“To get to some cohesion or compact, we have to deal with the pain on all sides. We must ask ourselves how did we get here?
“As a chairperson of the ANC Social Transformation subcommittee, I am disturbed by the breakdown of social cohesion, especially how it manifested with racial tensions in Chatsworth and Phoenix.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Vusi Dube, founder of the eThekwini Community Church International and co-convener of the National Interfaith Council of SA and the Commission for Religious Affairs, condemned what transpired in Phoenix.
“Why group yourselves according to race and begin to shoot blacks? Is it because they have never trusted blacks but were not able to speak about it? Or is there another reason for this deep-seated racism entrenched in people’s minds?
“We have to engage in social cohesion, not in theory but on the ground. We have to re-establish the moral regeneration course. We need to relook at the RDP of the soul.”