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The mass acts of violence that occurred in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng from July 9-17 represented a nightmarish descent into hell comprising widespread looting, racial violence and vigilantism. What has now been euphemistically termed “the unrest” serves as a timely reminder for many of the tenuous thread by which order and civility are held.

In the aftermath of lawlessness and disorder what is required to avoid their repetition is not merely economic policy — as important as it may be — but, rather, a cultivation of the value and importance of personal responsibility. As explained by former US president Ronald Reagan: “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the precept that each individual is accountable for their actions.”..

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