From the ed­i­tor

Finweek English Edition - - Contents - ANNELI GROENEWALD

afew years back, dur­ing a post-Bud­get panel dis­cus­sion, the topic turned to the (all-too fa­mil­iar) ten­dency of protests in South Africa to turn vi­o­lent. One of the pan­el­lists was the for­mer gen­eral sec­re­tary of Cosatu, Zwelinz­ima Vavi. And it was his turn to talk. He re­it­er­ated his state­ment that Jo­han­nes­burg was sur­rounded by “a ring of fire”: the protests that of­ten es­ca­late to the point where in­fras­truc­ture is de­stroyed. He claimed that South Africans had started to be­lieve that the only way to get some­one to lis­ten to them, was when the coun­try was burn­ing. Only then would the mayor, the min­is­ter or the pres­i­dent be­stir them­selves to lis­ten to the peo­ple.

When­ever fires are ig­nited in this coun­try, as they were in West­bury fol­low­ing the fa­tal shoot­ing of a woman caught in the cross­fire of a gang-re­lated fight, I am re­minded of Vavi’s com­ments.

Fed-up with fall­ing vic­tim to the gangs and drug deal­ers who they say rule their streets, the West­bury com­mu­nity took to the streets, block­ing off main roads into town. Some pro­test­ers prayed. Oth­ers started fires.

Traf­fic started spilling over into neigh­bour­ing sub­urbs, grid­lock­ing oth­er­wise quiet res­i­den­tial streets. Many Joburg­ers found them­selves stuck in traf­fic for hours. Images and videos of vi­o­lence started cir­cu­lat­ing. A Rea Vaya bus stop was burnt down.

The re­sult­ing an­nounce­ment came as no sur­prise: the min­is­ter of po­lice, Bheki Cele, would visit West­bury to ad­dress the com­mu­nity. In his speech he promised to de­ploy a tac­ti­cal unit to as­sist the com­mu­nity in their fight against drug lords and gang­sters.

This brings me back to Vavi’s words. Only when there is fire and de­struc­tion will the mayor, the min­is­ter or the pres­i­dent lis­ten.

Why did Cele only visit West­bury af­ter the fires started? Why only de­ploy a tac­ti­cal unit long af­ter the com­mu­nity had run out of pa­tience?

Why didn’t the min­is­ter go to West­bury on the af­ter­noon that an in­no­cent woman was killed in the cross­fire be­tween gangs? Shouldn’t that be rea­son enough to act?

Mat­ter of fact:

In the dis­cus­sion on Aspen Phar­ma­care in our Si­mon Says col­umn of 27 Septem­ber, we er­ro­neously stated the sell­ing of its in­fant for­mula busi­ness in rand terms. The busi­ness was in fact sold for $864.64m. Ex­pec­ta­tions had been that the for­mula busi­ness would fetch be­tween $1bn and $1.5bn. We re­gret the er­ror. ■

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.