LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | The looting was not a legitimate protest, it was about destruction

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Smoke rising from a Makro building which was set on fire in Umhlanga, north of Durban during riots earlier this month.
Smoke rising from a Makro building which was set on fire in Umhlanga, north of Durban during riots earlier this month.

Not all of News24's readers agree with the sentiments expressed in the opinion article penned by Nombulelo Shange and Ntando Sindane entitled 'If poverty not eradicated, looting will happen again'. You can read the views of two readers below: 

Blaming poverty for the looting is disingenuous

I think the authors conflate protesting with looting.

Non-violent protest is a legitimate act of expression, sanctioned by our constitution. Looting and vandalism is an act of criminality that is to the detriment of the immediate community (jobs and facilities) and society. It cannot be condoned or justified as its an affront to the rule of law and a cause for instability and racial tension in Kwa-Zulu-Natal. 

The protests cannot be justified by poverty when it was sparked by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma. Arguably, folks in the Eastern Cape (and across South Africa) face similar hardships and poverty as those in KwaZulu-Natal. Yet, no looting took place post-Zuma's incarceration in these more impoverished areas. 

How did destroying schools in KwaZulu-Natal serve as a legitimate protest for Zuma's incarceration when it only serves to disadvantage the immediate community, resulting in another lost generation and thus the further entrenching of inequality.

Outside of the public sector, South Africa's best-paying jobs are for the most skilled (educated) folks, and torching schools serves to entrench the fate of the lost generation and income inequality.

Quality schooling matters, and it's the only tool that will allow impoverished masses to cross the class divide and eliminate inequality and poverty, one graduation cohort at a time.

Unfortunately, inequality will be with South Africa for a long time, as undoing 300 years of European colonialism will take much longer than 27 years. Corruption, state capture, and crony capitalism do us no favours either. 

Some elders have said we face a crisis of morality and values, and maybe this is where policymakers need to focus, but blaming poverty, inequality, and the legacy of apartheid for every act of wanton criminality (disguised as legitimate protests) is disingenuous at best.

- Ahmed Loghdey

Stop stealing and destroying the little that we have 

Poverty is caused not by the inability or the lack of work. It is the mindset of 'minimum work, maximum pay'.

Everyone is an individual and has their talents and abilities. But stealing from oneself does not help build ourselves as a united community in the eyes of the world.

We are a growing nation; a multicultural democracy that needs to be nurtured and not destroyed. One must understand without hard work nothing can be accomplished.

Please, South Africans, remember the old saying, 'Unity is Strength.' Work together and build together. Stop stealing and destroying the little that we have.

God Bless South Africa.

- Raman Newalani 

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