PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA alleges that we are experiencing unprecedented acts of sedition intended to destabilize and disestablish South Africa via economic sabotage and insurrection. This week’s civil unrest was “nothing less than a deliberate, co-ordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy,” he said in a speech broadcast to the nation, adding “the constitutional order of our country is under threat”.
Earlier he welcomed actions brought by communities to defend themselves. “The democratic state is what our people are defending, as well as their assets” he said. “These measures work best when taken within the context of community policing forums,” he added.
Self-defense units (SDU) were an integral part of the struggle against apartheid. During the Goldstone ‘Commission of Inquiry Regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation’, Judge Goldstone found “the SDUs evolved out of the demands from communities under siege from violence and the perceived partisanship of the police in maintaining law and order.”
The failure of SAPS to react to looting this week, the near absence of crowd control measures such as water cannon, tear gas and thunderclaps, raise critical questions about the extant of the involvement of the state apparatus itself, in the sabotage of assets vital to the economy.
It is concerning that Radio 702 host Bongani Binga was forced to take Deputy Minister of State security Zizi Kodwa to task for contradicting his own narrative and asserting that white ‘right-wing’ elements were involved.
It is a tired mantra of disarming communities on the basis of race, and then labelling any attempt to defend oneself as ‘vigilantism’ — an often abused term, which is a more appropriate synonym for ‘mob justice’.
The state intelligence agency continues to act and behave as if the only game in town is that taken from the apartheid-era playbook in which the ANC, instead of being in government, are instead the adversaries of the state.
This may be put down to the disturbing factionalism within the party centering around Jacob Zuma and suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule (see here).
The extant to which the state apparatus is being hijacked to essentially undermine the democratic order has begun to emerge — rogue intelligence agents, former MK guerrillas, Zulu Amabutho regiments, mobsters, organised crime, and delusional lefties all form part of the broader picture.
South Africans have tasted the “bitter fruits of a counterrevolutionary insurgency” that has been “germinating in the bowels of state capture” according to a statement released by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.
It is important that we remind ourselves that the right to armed self-preservation is part of our common law and derived from Graeco-Roman Natural Rights theory, enunciated by the Roman statesman Cicero (106–43 B.C.) and other stoic philosophers, influenced by Aristotle.
Citizens not only have a natural right to self-defence but also a moral duty to defend their families and neighbors. The right to armed self-defence extends collectively to the community ‘to curb or prevent tyrannical government’, and in our case, the abuse of state power to achieve ignoble or undemocratic ends.
Thus when the President repeated calls for individuals and communities to refrain from what he termed ‘vigilantism’, he was essentially referring to ‘mob justice’, and public lynchings, a fact of life in many townships and not civilian-based defence.
As Bonang Mohole, UFS Chancellor, writing in Business Day put it: Acts of treason and sabotage against people, property and the economy need to be dealt with swiftly and decisively