South Africa Needs a New Progressive Popular Political Movement That Boldly Tackles Our Festering Ills

opinion

No amount of repression can sustain our current deeply unequal and fractured society. We need radical changes that benefit all, not just self-serving elites. Perhaps it is time to return to the grassroots, local-level, street-by-street activism, mass mobilisation and organisation of the 1980s.

Once the Constitutional Court issued its verdict, it was predictable that imprisoning Jacob Zuma would heighten political tension. Much was at stake, including the integrity of South Africa's hard-won constitutional democracy, the rule of law, whether impunity by those who have presided over state looting would continue to be accommodated and whether the "unity' of the governing party and the jockeying among its political factions would trump the interests of South Africa as a whole.

It is implausible that the intelligence services did not construct scenarios arising from the jailing of Zuma. Either they are breathtakingly incompetent or were utterly unprepared. Or they sat on information for their own political reasons, or they are deeply riven with factions including Zuma acolytes. In many democracies, the ministers of "intelligence" and police would be tendering their resignations or would be fired, but not in South Africa.

During the first few days of the "unrest" in KwaZulu-Natal, our usually media-loving...

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