Ramaphosa Must Institute A Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into Acts of Treason

President Ramaphosa must initiate a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the acts of insurrection which resulted in the death of well over 200 people, widespread looting, and violence in the provinces of Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng over the past two weeks.

Such an inquiry, led by a judge, is the only way of ensuring that those who are responsible for the death and the destruction visited upon the residents of KZN and Gauteng are held to account, regardless of who they are or the position they hold within the ANC.

We will be writing to the President demanding that, within the next 60 days, he request the Acting Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, to provide a shortlist of 3 judges from which the President should choose to chair such an inquiry.

The inquiry must seek to establish:

  • The identity of ring-leaders from the ANC and wherever else they may come from who are responsible for the coordinated attacks on communities;
  • Establish the culpability of senior ANC members and politicians in inciting acts of violence and destruction;
  • Who funded the operation of these coordinated attacks;
  • Whether any current and former members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), South African National Defence Force (SANDF), or our intelligence apparatus supported the insurrection;
  • Examine the impact of the security cluster’s failure to timeously address violence on the wellbeing of residents’ lives and livelihoods in KZN and Gauteng; and
  • Make recommendations for criminal prosecutions for those implicated in these coordinated attacks where appropriate.

In the days leading up to the 7th of July 2021, a series of events took place outside the homestead of former President Jacob Zuma. Crowds gathered, Covid-19 regulations were ignored, and gunshots were fired in the air – all in the full view of the SAPS who did absolutely nothing and this imagery was shared widely in broadcast media.

Following Jacob Zuma’s arrest, KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Johannesburg experienced unprecedented levels of destruction, looting, and violence. There can be no denying that these were deliberate, coordinated, and politically orchestrated deeds.

Those who witnessed the unrest have spoken of an advanced communication network which directed people to specific locations and how this coordination resembled a planned approach to target key economic infrastructure.

The confusion caused by Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s contradictory statement regarding what President Cyril Ramaphosa termed a failed attempted insurrection cannot go unchecked.

In his own words on 16 July 2021, the President stood before the nation and stated the following:

“It is clear now that the events of the past week were nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy.
These actions are intended to cripple the economy, cause social instability and severely weaken – or even dislodge – the democratic state

Using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts have sought to provoke a popular insurrection. 
They have sought to exploit the social and economic conditions under which many South Africans live – conditions that have worsened since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic – and to provoke ordinary citizens and criminal networks to engage in opportunistic acts of looting.”

There is a name for what the President referred but was too fearful to name – Treason, the most serious crime that can be committed against every citizen of a country.

The President has a sworn constitutional duty to ensure that these acts of treason are dealt with in a manner deserving of their seriousness. The President must ensure that all of those who are involved are exposed and criminally prosecuted for their clear attempt to undermine our constitutional order. This can only be done through a proper judicial inquiry.

While South Africans have noted statements arising out of the National Assembly, committing to holding a parliamentary inquiry into the recent acts of insurrection, we can place no stock on the legitimacy of such a process. It is sad to note that Parliament has not been a defender of the South African people, for some time.

Various Members of Parliament from across the political divide have demonstrated, time and time again, their willingness to protect their own politically vested interests rather than the interests of the South African people. This is the same Parliament that, repeatedly, voted down motions of no confidence against Jacob Zuma when the weight of evidence pointed to state capture and corruption.

This is the same Parliament that voted down Thuli Madonsela’s Report on State Capture and exonerated Jacob Zuma on the matter of Nkandla.

The only matter where our Parliament has excelled over the past few years is in protecting its own interests. The President has confirmed that this was a politically driven insurrection within the ANC’s own ranks. Given this, how can Parliament preside over a process to investigate matters when some of those involved in the insurrection are sitting in the very benches of the same Parliament which intends conducting this investigation?

Moreover, we cannot allow for a situation where the ANC, may once again, abuse its majority in the House to protect its cadres at the expense of every other South African.

As long as the President continues to treat this issue as an internal ANC matter, as long as he refuses to respond decisively to this act of High Treason, and as long as he refuses to name the perpetrators, we will remain at risk of a future recurrence of this unrest.

The greatest pain in our country is the highest sustained unemployment rate in the world. The fact that thousands of South Africans will now be added to the ranks of the unemployed, entirely because of the ANC’s internal factional battles, is unforgivable.

ActionSA will not stop until those behind this High Treason are identified, held accountable, and made to pay for what they have done.