Former Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo has denied allegations that intelligence information was withheld from state organs that dealt with the July 2021 unrest.
About 350 people died in the week-long spree of violence and looting that caused billions of rands in damage to businesses and infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Dlodlo is the second top government official to appear before the Human Rights Commission hearings looking at the unrest.
Gauteng leg of HRC hearings into July unrest:
She says there had been sufficient signs of the July unrest prior to the actual day when violent protests started in KwaZulu-Natal and escalated, spreading to some parts of Gauteng.
She refuted claims that intelligence information was not shared with roleplayers, including the police.
“Between the period of May 2021 when the riots started on the 10th of July we had issued some yellow, red and orange alerts. And all of this goes to the structures that I have mentioned. To enable them to plan to mitigate the risks that would’ve been indicated in these alerts. At the time when I was still in the SSA, we did warn about growing instability that undermined the authority of the state. The national intelligence estimate was presented to the national security council and adopted on the same date, the 01 December 2020.”
Dlodlo says although there hadn’t been specific reasons for the protests, unemployment and poverty did play a huge role and remain a threat to national security.
“I can tell you that poverty unemployment and inequality are a threat to national security. You can have more than 30% of youth unemployed and not see that as a powder cake. It’s going to erupt one and it’s not a prophecy. It just needs us to think that it is going to happen because people are unemployed. If you look at what was going on in the malls, at any given time there were always more than 2000 to 3000 people looting. Now, do you want to tell me that a person who’s employed will leave his place of employment to go and loot? I wouldn’t think so.”
She believes all South Africans have a role to play in encouraging the rule of law and stability if properly engaged.
“I don’t think you need to be of a particular class or a station in life to contribute towards the security of your country. I can understand your difficulty in seeing this happen. When people do not even have money to travel to a point to which you would be inviting them to come to, to share their views hopes and aspirations.”
Dlodlo has called on the government to improve its level of engagement with communities in order to achieve stability.
On Monday, Police Minister Bheki Cele has told the hearings that there’s good collaboration between the private security companies and the police in combating crime.
Cele told the commission in Sandton north of Johannesburg that there are also new laws to address some of the ills in private security companies.
He was responding to questions about the events that led to private security companies setting up roadblocks and allegedly shooting at people in Phoenix, north of Durban.
“There are good collaborations between private and the police. I must also say some of them have the best equipment as private security companies but many of them have been closed down because of the things they do especially in the taxi industry. They are causing a lot of problems. There’s a new law that’s been signed by the president. We are relooking at their contribution and their scope.”