13 July 2021
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) is deeply disappointed with government’s display of a weak and lethargic leadership as thugs literally burned down South Africa and livelihoods. The images of burning trucks, prime KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng malls engulfed in thick black smoke are haunting and refuse to go away. All the while as gleeful hordes of thugs hauled their loot with impunity. Maybe the authorities were working from home because of COVID-19 as one social media post noted tongue in cheek.
The belated deployment of the army is an important initial step to address the mayhem. But it comes after millions of Rands worth of destroyed economic infrastructure that will take years to repair. Hundreds of businesses may fold. Hundreds of thousands of workers may have to be retrenched as a direct result. The timid vaccination roll-out that was beginning to gain some kind of momentum has been forced back into low gear. It’s chilling to think that this might be its actual default position. And of course, hunger now stocks impoverished communities already devasted by the deadly Delta variant of the Corona virus.
Perhaps President Cyril Ramaphosa himself captured the essence of what was happening during his address to the nation last night:
“The victims of the violence that is unfolding now – the workers, the truck drivers, the business owners, the parents and families of those who have lost their lives – have done nothing wrong,” he said.
“Although these may be opportunistic acts of looting driven by hardship and poverty, the poor and marginalised bear the ultimate brunt of the destruction. Shops have been looted and infrastructure destroyed. This means that our sick cannot get medication from pharmacies, food does not reach supermarket shelves, and health workers cannot go to work”.
In basic terms, unemployment, poverty and social inequality that has for years simmered under the surface and defined South African society has now exploded in the face of government.
FEDUSA believes that the time for a new pact to decisively stamp out corruption and address poverty, unemployment, social inequality and their externalities is now. This should take the form of a National Indaba .The nation deserves no less.
For interviews please contact:
Ms. Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
Mr. Ashley Benjamin
FEDUSA Deputy General Secretary
083 258 4433
Media & Research Officer
072 637 8096