/ 23 February 2022

Ayanda Dlodlo ‘warned government of violence before Zuma was jailed’

Dlodlo Urges Cabinet To Trim Down Bloated Offices
Minister Ayanda Dlodlo (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Moeletsi Mabe)

Former state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo said her department had, as far back as December 2020, flagged rising instability that undermined South Africa’s security.

Testifying before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) hearings into the looting and vandalism that rocked the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces last July, Dlodlo claimed to have forewarned the government of an ensuing crisis long before the violence, apparently sparked by protests over the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court.

She cited security risks such as poverty, underspending on public service and mentioned a “red alert” being issued based on a call from KwaZulu-Natal for a provincial shutdown and the removal of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Despite previous testimony suggesting rifts, Dlodlo insisted the state security department and South African Police Service (SAPS) tried to work amicably with one another, but added that a national security strategy was “long overdue”.

She said the State Security Agency still did not have the mandate of law enforcement and outlined how she at times felt stifled in her job, wary of possible claims of ministerial overreach.

Dlodlo added that some of last July’s riots had unfolded right on the doorstep of police stations: “You are across the road. You can see what is happening. You don’t need state security for that,” she said, though she also stated that she did not want to “cast aspersions on other bodies of the security cluster”.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has refuted receiving intelligence relating to the violence, but  Dlodlo said her former office could not be held accountable if Cele’s department had failed to ensure that the intelligence report was handed over to him.
In his own testimony on Monday, Cele said the instigators of the July unrest had stoked fears among the SAPS in an effort to undermine law enforcement.