July 2021 unrest report: Ministers Bheki Cele and Ayanda Dlodlo must go

Issued by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
07 Feb 2022 in News

Please find attached voicenote from the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen MP.

President Ramaphosa now has concrete evidence to fire Ministers Bheki Cele and Ayanda Dlodlo.

He has today released the expert panel’s report on the July 2021 riots, which was submitted to him in November last year.

This damning report confirms what the DA has said all along.

Key findings

First, that ANC factionalism played a role – we think the leading role – in the unrest. The ANC is a grave threat to national security. This issue should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Ramaphosa has failed to purge his party of self-serving individuals.

It would be remiss of us if we did not express the strong view expressed by some of the groups we met, to the effect that the internal differences within the governing party, the ANC, contributed to the unrest and should be addressed as a matter of national security now.

Second, that the response by SAPS and Intelligence was shockingly slow, inappropriate and insufficient.

They failed to carry out their fundamental role, which is to protect life and property.

This incapacity to deliver on mandate is the inevitable result of the ANC’s decades-long policy of cadre deployment, which the DA has warned about for two decades now.

Mr. President, you asked us to determine whether the response by the security services was timeous, appropriate and sufficient.

The answer to that, in respect of the police and the intelligence services, is an unequivocal no.

Third, that the minister and police commissioner took decisions independent of each other and they, along with others in Ramaphosa’s cabinet, must be held accountable for July 2021.

Many reasons were proffered for this failure, but in the end the response remains that they (the police and the intelligence services) failed to do the necessary to protect life, limb and property.

The reasons are set out in the body of our report. The Executive, however carries some of the blame too and must take responsibility for its lapse of leadership.

President Ramaphosa’s determination to put party before country and his commitment to cadre deployment have cost South Africa dearly.

DA recommendations

First, heads must roll.

At the very least, Minister of Police Bheki Cele and then Minister of Intelligence Ayanda Dlodlo must be dropped from cabinet immediately and entirely.

In a functional democracy, their heads would have rolled long ago.

Instead, President Ramaphosa retained Cele despite the paralysis in SAPS and redeployed Dlodlo to the key position of Minister of Public Service and Administration.

Shockingly, he also redeployed then Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula to the position of Speaker of Parliament. (In a really functional democracy, the whole cabinet would have resigned, out of shame and decency.)

Second, this report contains more than enough evidence for why an independent, credible and accountable state security apparatus is essential.

The State Security Agency must be removed from the presidency and reformed as per the recommendations of the 2018 High Level Review Panel report into the State Security Agency, which has mostly been collecting dust till now.

Now that this report has been released and our analysis vindicated, the DA will pursue every avenue available to us to ensure that those who failed South Africa are held accountable.