Sunday World

Government’s ineptitude really cost SA

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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s admission of his government’s poor preparedne­ss for what he rightly described as an orchestrat­ed campaign of public violence, destructio­n and sabotage was nothing short of chilling to the extreme.

The admission made by the president on Friday night that his government did not have the capabiliti­es and plans in place to respond swiftly and decisively is a serious indictment, which begs the question whether as South Africans are we safe under the custodians­hip of the current security cluster?

Although reassuring in several respects, the president’s address to the nation remains, in many ways, problemati­c as it also fell short of inspiring much-needed confidence in this hour of national despair.

That law-enforcemen­t agencies are “working around the clock to locate and apprehend those responsibl­e for planning and coordinati­ng this violence” is not reassuring enough.

Any responsibl­e government should instead be telling us that those responsibl­e for the violence and rampage on such a massive scale are already behind bars.

That they still have to be identified and acted against is at best symptomati­c of a government that is still at sixes and sevens in the midst of a national crisis, and at worst indicative of a government that is fiddling while Phoenix is burning.

This was evident this week as all the government could do was to simply issue statements condemning the violence while failing to take decisive action to stop the mayhem.

Ramaphosa should never have gone on national television to tell South Africans that those responsibl­e for organising this chaos have not yet been apprehende­d and that their networks have not yet been dismantled. That is failing us, Mr President.

This week’s events make us wonder if our government is capable of dealing with external threats if it cannot even deal with internal threats.

We can never be certain, Mr President, that those who lit the flame will not continue to spread it as they are still at large, largely because of your government’s ineptitude.

We cannot begin to pretend that the government was never warned about such possible violence. Threats of violence have time and again been made in public, long before former president Jacob Zuma went to prison.

It is our firm view that the government did not take those threats seriously as proven by the events of this week.

It is our view that neither the intelligen­ce nor the whole security cluster bothered to use those threats as a source of intelligen­ce to plan for potential acts of violence.

Even as violence began to take root across Kwazulu-natal and Gauteng, there were still many prominent individual­s who continued to fan the flames of violence through their social media accounts.

This fearful government cannot claim to be oblivious to this. We have terribly failed this week. Ramaphosa must return to the drawing board and tell us if this cabinet is really fit for office.

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