#UnrestSA: Eastern Cape business chamber sends Ramaphosa scathing letter on violence, looting

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  • The Border-Kei Chamber of Business has accused police and state security ministers of not doing enough to stop the violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Director Lizelle Maurice, in an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, said the organisation was "extremely concerned and appalled at the visible lack of action and decisive leadership" from ministers Bheki Cele and Ayanda Dlodlo. 
  • She said the ministers’ poor leadership and the lack of decisive action or a quick response to a national crisis led to financial losses worth billions in an economy with an already high unemployment rate.

The Border-Kei Chamber of Business in the Eastern Cape has written a scathing open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, accusing Police Minister Bheki Cele and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo of allowing unrest to rage unabated in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. 

The chaos which began in KwaZulu-Natal after the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma, quickly spread to Gauteng. 

It was spearheaded by people calling for the release of the former head of state from prison.

READ | #UnrestSA: Eastern Cape towns running out of supplies as KZN panic-buyers cross border

In the two page letter, dated 14 July, the chamber's executive director Lizelle Maurice tells Ramaphosa that the organisation is, "... extremely concerned and appalled at the visible lack of action and decisive leadership", from Cele and Dlodlo. 

A picture taken on July 16, 2021 shows President C
President Cyril Ramaphosa visiting Bridge City in Durban. He is joined by police minister Bheki Cele.

Maurice said the ministers' poor leadership and the lack of decisive action or a quick response to a national crisis, led to, among others, financial losses worth billions, death resulting from stampedes at shopping malls, infrastructural damage and job losses in an economy with an already high unemployment rate.

ALSO READ | Eastern Cape taxi operators arm themselves with 270 sjamboks to curb looting

Maurice wrote: 

In addition, we are already experiencing food and fuel shortages in several parts of our country. This situation bears testament to the deteriorating levels of good quality leadership that we have been experiencing over the past couple of years. Lack of accountability and action against perpetrators at an Executive level, has almost become the norm.

The chamber said it would like to see swift and decisive action against leaders who were supposed to uphold the rule of law and protect the public, but had failed in their task, the arrest and prosecution of 12 instigators identified by Cele as having incited the riots, business support provided to affected businesses to ensure their recovery and that of the local economy in the affected provinces, and an investigation into the root cause of the violence.

"The safety and security of our people is a basic human right and we therefore call for an urgent review of the safety and security measures of our country, as we are clearly not prepared for terrorist attacks, invasion, war or mass public disorder."

ALSO READ | Eastern Cape asks army to stand by as people gather outside malls

Cele's spokesperson Lirandzu Temba said ministers forming part of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster, including Cele and Dlodlo, met and are satisfied with all the intelligence reports they have received from SSA, SAPS, as well as crime and defence intelligence regarding the lootings.

She said the ministers are confident that law enforcement agencies will be able to do their job effectively.

News24 could not reach State Security Agency spokesperson Mava Scott and Ramaphosa's spokesperson Tyrone Seale for comment. Their responses will be added once received.

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