Whenever I walk into any shop, office or filling station around Komani, I bump into someone I have taught or have taught his relative and so on. Some are security guards, petrol attendants, tellers at supermarkets, office workers and so on. Now imagine if what happened in KwaZulu Natal and some parts of Gauteng happened here, where would these people be today? When this whole ‘Zuma must be freed’ rioting started, many people, including the police and the ANC politicians, seemingly, were completely caught by surprise. No one thought that once it started it would move with such swiftness and ferocity.
In Durban they laid to waste so many businesses that have been in existence for decades and many will never be resuscitated. In each and every mall there are hundreds of people waking up every day to work there, as cleaners, security guards, tellers, salespeople and so many other related jobs. These are low skilled jobs and many earn just enough to keep starvation at bay. Today the hundreds of workers who worked at these now-gutted malls are sitting at home with absolutely no hope that the businesses they worked at will ever reopen their doors. Imagine if this happened in the local malls in Komani, where would we start to get most basic things we so take for granted like milk, bread and nappies? What do you say when you have to explain to your little one that he cannot have anything to eat today because last night mommy and daddy went and looted the nearest mall and came back with a plasma screen TV? Do you proudly tell him that you looted and gutted the mall because you wanted a certain Jacob Zuma to be freed from jail? Do you proudly tell him that you were part of a ‘revolution’ whose end game you cannot really explain?
The mayhem we are experiencing even now has its genesis in the internal struggles of the ANC. In reality it has nothing to do with us. The unsuspecting public has been conned into believing that this was part of the struggle towards economic freedom. Fortunately, many other provinces saw right through this and didn’t participate. They saw it for what it actually was – a clumsy attempt to protect wrongdoers by tapping into well developed hopelessness and despair. Why would I go and loot and burn a local shop in the mall owned by someone I know, thinking this would lead to freedom for a person rightly imprisoned for his outrageous views against our constitution? Why should I destroy the livelihoods of so many people in the hope that this would free a person whose family will not be affected by any of the mayhem I have visited upon my community? Let me be blunt – Zuma is where he is because he deserved it. No amount of looting and mayhem will ever change that. What kind of a leader would allow people to do this in his name when he knows that what will follow is absolute poverty and massive loss of jobs? The ANC got us into this mess, it had better wake up and resolve it quickly before it gets swept away. We, the people of Eastern Cape, saw right through it.