Claremont – At least six people have been killed and one wounded after an assailant opened fire on them. The shooting happened in an informal settlement in Claremont. This adds to the long list of mass shootings and growing issues plaguing KwaZulu-Natal.
Gun violence has been on the rise in the KZN and other parts of the country. While some shootings have been random, there have been cases where politicians and those in government have been specifically targeted. The rise in shootings can be attributed to a number of things, explained Narendh Ganesh, a social activist.
“There are a myriad of problems that lead to these kinds of things. Whether it’s political, social or criminal, I believe it’s more down to lawlessness and the inability of our law enforcement agencies to protect citizens. The increase in mass shootings countrywide is a serious concern for everybody.”
How communities can protect themselves
Law enforcement agencies, especially the South African Police Service, are stretched thin. While mass shootings have been on the rise, so has vigilantism. This is a direct consequence of South Africans feeling they cannot trust or rely on the police, said Ganesh.
“We’ve heard of instances where people have taken, as they put it, the law into their own hands. They term it as vigilante. The reality is vigilantism is going to increase because enough is enough. The tragedy of South Africa’s security is that we have more private security enforcement than state security and that says a lot. When people start taking the law into their own hands, which in the normal sense of the word shouldn’t be happening, it will be on the increase … As an experienced victim [housebreakings] I’m ready to take the law into my own hands. Quite often police officers are involved in these crimes as well. Which is another sad state of affairs.”
The latest statistics indicate around 70 murders happen every day in South Africa. If this is allowed to continue, Ganesh will not be surprised or shocked if vigilantism continues and increases.
Life in KZN after the July Riots
In 2021 KwaZulu-Natal was left devastated by the July riots. Durban and Phoenix were one of the hardest hit areas with many losing their lives.
“It’s a salacious statement to suggest July 2021 was a racial affair. It started off as a political affair with the Jacob Zuma incarceration. It turned into a criminal aspect with the looting. From there it degenerated into an attack on different communities. Sadly, because Phoenix was considered to be previously an Indian community and these marauders tried to invade the area and people defended themselves. The point I’d like to make is the day before these things occurred, everything was ‘normal’. A week after these incidents subsided, everything went back to normal. To this day, everything is as if nothing happened.”
The only reason the government alluded to a racial aspect was to draw attention away from their inadequacy to control the situation, said Ganesh. People were forced to take matters into their own hands because law enforcement were unable to do their jobs and control the situation.
The degradation of KZN
The province is suffering from lawlessness as well as degrading infrastructure. While this can be blamed on the government, Ganesh has put the blame on those who continuously vote to put “thugs and criminals” in positions of power.
“They get the same results and complain even more after each election. Yet the thugs are still there. The incompetence is still there. Cadre deployment still exists … When you have incompetent leadership who lack vision, who lack ability then we will always be on the receiving end of poor service delivery. The infrastructure, especially after the April flood, has been very poorly handled.”
If the province is to be restored and lives are to be saved, it is imperative that people who are competent are voted into power. As long as this doesn’t happen, Ganesh fears things will only get worse until it reaches such a point that nothing can be done to change it.