The feverish search for the organisers and kingpins behind the July 2021 orgy of violence is in vain, writes Piet Croucamp in this week’s edition of Vrye Weekblad. The explanation is more complex.
Most analysts’ intellectual reflexes were to look for the RET firebrands under the surface of the events. However, a meaningful hypothesis of what happened in those dark days requires thorough research and probably a multi-disciplinary investigation.
The idea of political thugs carefully planning and executing the entire theatre of destruction only lives in conspiracy views. I am unaware of any warlords, mischief-mongers or gangsters in this country who have the influence or institutional capacity to mount such an absurd piece of theatre. There are thousands of opportunists and political militants who would seek to benefit from the chaos, but that doesn’t mean they initiated the project.
SA’s violence, corruption and criminality are fragmented and need complex retrospective insight. Individual values have moral codes to which group behaviour doesn’t necessarily conform. Another anomaly is that violence is sometimes a prerequisite for eventual stability.
In a violent democracy, the institutions of state themselves become involved in the fomentation of violence. Both national intelligence and the police can be linked to violence, corruption and other activities that undermine the constitution.
Most of us know criminality erodes the glue of our democracy, but don’t understand the systemic nature thereof. With that I refer to the extent the system itself reproduces criminality rather than being abused for criminal purposes.