Residents help move bricks during a clean-up operation at Supa Store supermarket following the unrest, in Soweto, July 15 2021. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS/BLOOMBERG
Residents help move bricks during a clean-up operation at Supa Store supermarket following the unrest, in Soweto, July 15 2021. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS/BLOOMBERG

As a poignant counterpoint to the ugly destruction we’ve seen in the past few days, we’ve also seen people taking charge and trying to protect and repair infrastructure.

Since 1994 most of ordinary society has waited in vain for those in authority to put things in place that would see our country grow and prosper if our amazing resources — social and material — were properly managed. Now we have finally seen that it’s down to us. The government failed us when the crunch came, and we are not going to put our trust in it again.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala, who told the people of Ballito to take down their checkpoints preventing looters from entering, can go to hell. He can try to impose senseless edicts while the real problem goes ignored, but we will continue to do our best to keep the wheels turning.

While still hoping President Cyril Ramaphosa will do what’s needed, we can’t sit back and trust that it will happen. The years of frustration as our government held everything back while we had to look on at lost opportunities and hungry people have brought out something in us. The good stories will come from the people, not government.

Charmaine Manicom 
Via e-mail

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