The day the citizens took their neighbourhood back – a story by Herman Labuschagne.
I was sent this today and believe that EVERYONE should read it, I take NO CREDIT for the writing and acknowledge the author Herman Labuschagne for this outstanding piece of writing.
(I have deliberately NOT included images or videos as these have been circulated on all platforms and are available to view on many sites)
South Africa is a very strange place indeed. Just when you think you know what to expect, the scene changes, and when the curtain raises again, there is a whole new show that you hadn’t even bought tickets for.
I had calls from overseas today, anxiously wanting to know if I’m OK?
I smiled. Everything is quiet where I live.
The mountains are snow-capped and we’re all frozen solid. Nobody wants to move. Nobody is excited. And nobody that I personally know, cares about freeing an ex-president from jail, under whose watch the country turned into a garbage dump.
Elsewhere in the country, though, the looting riots have been massive. Much, much larger than I’d thought. The video reports suck the breath out of you. The town of Empangeni is just a shell. Looted and trashed completely. Entire shopping malls emptied in other places. Cleaned out of everything from fridges to cell phones and flat screen TVs, and from bananas to wonder mops.
A gun shop looted. A veterinary surgery looted. A small computer repair shop. A pharmacy. A charity that provides relief for the poor. It doesn’t matter what there was to loot – people descended on businesses in their thousands and hauled away what they could carry to cars waiting along the highways. Some by hand, most with pickups and vans, and some with a tractor, a forklift and an industrial cargo trolley.
Even solar panels and corrugated iron sheets ripped from the roofs of buildings. Farms and sugar cane fields set alight, leaving half-dead sheep with their wool scorched and their earns burnt off, bleating mournfully to be put out of their misery. More trucks torched. Everything robbed from small spaza shops to hypermarkets. Just as in the case of our national economy, the plunder was complete.
But not everywhere.
This is where the story becomes stranger than anyone could have expected. Dotted around the country, some business regions and residential areas emerged completely unscathed. The reason was profound.
Quietly, dozens of ordinary citizens spontaneously assembled, and drew a line. Beyond that line, no looter set his foot. They determined where the looting would stop, and it did not proceed one inch beyond.
They were so ordinary that it was almost extraordinary. Here an overweight pensioner in Crocks sandals. There a pudgy housewife with a small handgun. Elsewhere a young man with a hunting rifle. An Indian trader with a shotgun that has a drum magazine. A skinny youngster with a golf club. Another Indian woman, dressed in an elegant sari, but with a cane machete stuck through the back strap. Others just with paintball guns.
With the police nowhere in sight, they were there to protect their own. The ordinary, random citizens of South Africa who have had enough to suffering beneath the most corrupt regime in Africa.
All reports from all corners told the same story. Law-abiding private citizens and private security companies have joined hands to present arms and stop the invaders peacefully. In rare cases shots had to be fired, but for the most part, the mere sight of a wall of civilians who knew that their homes and livelihoods were at risk, was enough to make the looting mobs go elsewhere.
The irony of it all is enormous. Just a few weeks ago, a new bill was proposed for public comment. This involved radical changes to the firearms act, which called for completely disallowing self-defence as a reason for obtaining a firearm license, and severely curtailing and eliminating most other reasons for owning arms as well.
If accepted, it would practically mean the disarmament of the private citizens of South Africa. Behind this act were the obvious sinister forces: The rabid activists of Gunfree South Africa, funded by the Open Societies organization of George Soros. This is not a conspiracy story. You can fact check freely.
Meanwhile, what we saw happening over the past two days is probably the greatest international proof of concept for the need for private firearm ownership in a century. It provided conclusive proof that there are occasions on which the armed and police forces of a country cannot and will not protect its citizens – and that when this happens – the greatest and most valuable fallback army a country can have is its own private citizenry.
One curious benefit of the notoriously draconic firearm licensing requirements system has been the fact that all South African firearm owners had to have compulsory re-training in firearm handling and theory regarding related legislation.
The unintended consequences were evident today: large numbers of well-trained, very responsible, calm and determined citizens who were determined to defend the primordial right to ensure safety of life and limb. No desperate-looking zombie-proof apocalyptical survivalist nuts with homemade armoured cars, machine guns and improvised explosives. Just normal people like you and me, who understand that at the present time, the threat of discouraging an invader with a private firearm is all that is standing between them and losing everything they own.
Gunfree South Africa, of course, continues to be mute, despite numerous calls for comment. There are times when even the most sinister schemers must realize that the best thing to say is nothing at all.
Curiously, we still don’t know where the minister of police has been so far. Always before the cameras when lockdown-defying surfers or sunbathers are arrested on the beaches, and always vocal at insisting that private firearm ownership should be reduced or eliminated, he did not seem to feature visibly on this occasion.
Perhaps he was doing extremely valuable work behind the scenes, and did not have time for camera appearances. It would be wrong of me to jump to conclusions without more information. Anything is possible.
Meanwhile, the citizenry of South Africa have been performing strange, and unusual services to their country. For us who have been living under the worst crime conditions in all of Africa did apparently have its benefits. In our case, it resulted in a well-run system of suburban neighbourhood watches across the country.
These were effective at mobilizing housewives and small business owners to blockade entrances to suburbs with their private vehicles. Others patrolled with private drones. Food parcels were distributed. Shifts were rotated. Communication was relayed and neatly coordinated. All around the country, the most unlikely people understood exactly what they had to do.
At some of these access control points the the citizens checked passing traffic and emptied the looted cargo on the pavements. This soon grew into large piles of goods. At gunpoint, if needs be, suspicious vehicles were forced to a stop. From some of them, presumably illegal automatic assault weapons were confiscated.
It seems that the small numbers of police that could be found, were employed to formally arrest perpetrators and process them. From what I could determine, scattered police co-operated very nicely with the citizen defenders and both parties greatly appreciated each other’s help. In one occasion, unfortunately, a police commander denounced the defenders as racists.
Nevertheless, for the most part it would appear as if the police had done what they could to handle a situation that had gone completely beyond the capabilities of their leadership to handle. Despite the unnaturally large size of South Africa’s police force, they would have been completely unable to perform the work on such a scale on their own, so for the moment, it would seem that many of them at least tried to be part of the solution.
Elsewhere, videos showed how members of the Indian communities of Natal, assembled to perform exactly the same tasks. Indians who have slowly found themselves to have been disdained and humiliated by the present dispensation, were now proudly on the side of resistance against the tyranny of the majority.
In other parts the brown communities evidently did the same. Although I did not see them brandishing arms, it would be naïve to think that they wouldn’t have been similarly prepared. One citizen reporter ended his video clip by inviting the looters to come to his well-prepared neighbourhood, adding ominously, “papa is waiting for you…”
One interesting video shows how a group of Zulu looters had been arrested by private citizens and made to lie on the ground. While they are being whipped, the interviewer berates them for actually being police members, and proceeds to assure them of unpleasant consequences. When private citizens arrest the police for looting, you know that your country has become a zoo.
Of the “free Zuma” battle cry, not must has been heard today. It would seem as if the initial political motive had quickly become drowned by pure opportunistic crime. From the little that we could see of the army, they seem to have also been able to bring effective control in the spots where they were deployed.
Julius Malema, on his part, seems not to have carried through on his threat to order his Economic Freedom Fighters to join the looters if the military should be deployed. Instead, he has issued a letter, giving the president of South Africa until tonight to provide an explanation for the military deployment.
The political timing for all these events seems unfortunate for the two parties. This comes at the very moment when the ruling ANC party needed the support of the EFF in order to achieve the required two thirds majority in parliament for changing the constitution so as to allow the disowning of private property without compensation. This is of course, a long-winded euphemism for making it legal to steal land and private property at free will.
Just before the insurrection broke out, the two parties had fallen out of league in the matter. Now, it would seem as if the president might be wanting to give Malema the finger, while Malema is probably looking for an opportunity to use the massive political embarrassment of a country gone out of a control, to split the ANC and draw support.
There is no secret that Malema is hoping to become a future president of the republic, despite the fact that his policies constitute the most extreme communist dogma of any leader in our history.
So at the moment, South Africa is not only a zoo, but it is also a mess. But it is an interesting kind of mess. A strange, surreal Christmas pudding, studded with unexpected surprises. To find, amid all this confusion, that the country’s organized defence system had been caught completely off-guard is a huge embarrassment.
And to find that the non-formal citizenry had been found strangely organized, is probably going to be a surprize phenomenon that will be studied by analysts for a long time.
In the level-headed preparedness of the much-abused citizens of South Africa, there emerges one ray of hope for the inhabitants. And one shadow of warning for the evil forces of corrupt regimes.
It illustrates once again how honest citizens will always remain the greatest and most important buffer against totalitarianism, institutional abuse and the victimization of ordinary men and women.
To leaders who are fundamentally corrupt, this will be a dangerous threat against which they will no doubt try to prepare as they continue to try to plunder entire countries. But for honest and principled leaders, this will be a wonderful relief, and a source of hope.
The heroes of South Africa today, have been ordinary people. The Joe Soaps of society. They will receive no medals, but we know who they are. And we will honour them for having prevented the conflagration from engulfing us all.