Looting and unrest: Herman Mashaba calls for commission of inquiry into 'high treason'

Action SA says parliament and law-enforcement led probes into recent unrest cannot be trusted

27 July 2021 - 13:24
By mawande amashabalala AND Mawande AmaShabalala
Action SA's Herman Mashaba says only an
Image: Alon Skuy Action SA's Herman Mashaba says only an "independent body" can be trusted to unearth the truth behind the unrest that caused economic devastation and a jobs bloodbath in the affected provinces. File photo

Action SA president Herman Mashaba has given President Cyril Ramaphosa two months to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into the looting spree and destruction of retail property two weeks ago. 

According to Mashaba's party, the looting and public violence that broke out in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal should be characterised as acts of “high treason”.

The reason it had not been characterised as such by the government, he said, was because ANC politicians were implicated. 

Mashaba said only an “independent body” could be trusted to unearth the truth behind the unrest that caused economic devastation and a jobs bloodbath in the affected provinces.

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“Action SA will be writing to President Ramaphosa and giving him 60 days to initiate a judicial commission of inquiry,” said Mashaba.

“We will be asking the president to ask the acting chief justice to provide a shortlist of three judges from which the president should choose one to chair the commission of inquiry.

“In the likelihood that the president does not take this action within 60 days, Action SA will be laying a complaint with the office of the public protector to ensure that he is compelled to do so.”

Mashaba charged that parliament cannot be trusted because some MPs may be implicated in the ANC factional warfare that sparked the unrest. As for opposition members, such as those of the EFF, he said, they cannot be relied on after their leader Julius Malema played down the unrest. 

“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 investigating these matters when some of those involved are in the ANC and sitting in the very benches of parliament.

“Just recently, we saw the leader of the EFF Julius Malema claiming the looting and violence witnessed across KZN and Gauteng were not acts of insurrection. Therefore members of parliament cannot be trusted with such an important task.”

Mashaba said it would be impossible for Ramaphosa or any of his “conflicted” ANC comrades to interfere with a commission of inquiry. 

Even “captured” law enforcement agencies cannot be relied on, he added. 

“Our criminal justice system is captured, more especially the NPA, the SA Police Service as well as the Hawks.

“If that was not the case, we as Action SA would go to such agencies, but because of their capture, they are not the ones that we as South Africans feel comfortable with.”