S3 E8: A critical analysis of the incarceration of Jacob Zuma and subsequent unrest in South Africa
In conversation with Dr Tshepo Madlingozi
South Africa saw a series of violence and destruction in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in the last few weeks. What started off as protests against the imprisonment and incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma on charges of contempt of court by the Constitutional Court, spiralled into a week of mayhem, with poorer communities and other opportunistic citizens taking to the streets to loot and burn key infrastructure, shops, malls, trucks and warehouses. The consequences of the unrest resulted in incalculable damages beyond financial losses, the loss of lives and livelihoods. While it is still unclear to understand who instigated and organised the violent protests, it is clear that South Africa’s longstanding history of inequality and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic provided fertile ground for the speediness and mobilisation of violent protests to take place.
With South Africa’s society still built on what apartheid looked like where the majority remain disenfranchised from the future of the economy, this episode explores South Africa’s socio-political landscape to understand the violent protests. This episode also discusses the extent to which these protests threatened to undermine the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in South Africa and offers recommendations on what the government can do to offer sustainable and long-lasting solutions to address the root causes of violence and unrest.
Dr Tshepo Madlingozi is an Associate Professor of Law at the School of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is also the Director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, one of South Africa’s leading human rights and civil society organisations. Dr Madlingozi, who holds the degrees LLB cum laude, LLM, MSocSci, Law, Sociology from the University of Pretoria and a PhD from Birbeck University of London, is a renowned critical analyst and activist with a passion for rectification, transformation and decolonialisation.
Dr Madlingozi has been actively working to effect social change and justice and has served as the national advocacy co-ordinator and a board member of the Khulumani Support Group, which represents over 85,000 victims and survivors of apartheid-era gross human rights violations. In addition to his work at Khulumani, Dr Madlingozi has served on the boards of various human rights and social justice organisations, including the Centre for Human Rights, University of Free State, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution and Amandla.mobi. He has also been a consultant to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Pan-African Parliament. He has served on Project 25 of the Advisory Committee of the South African Law Commission, scrutinising the legislation administered by the Department of Provincial and Local Government to identify redundant provisions and determining compliance with Section 9 (‘the equality clause’) of the Constitution.
This conversation was recorded on 27 July 2021
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