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Emeritus Professor Francois Vreÿ of the Faculty of Military Science at Stellenbosch University warns that the African National Congress (ANC) government risks a “flash revolution” if it does not improve the provision of “human security”. He says the failure to effectively deliver quality services is evident in the “little red flashes” of dissatisfaction across the country. He also stresses the importance of a strong security governance platform to maintain stability. However, he does not believe that there will be a deep revolution that topples the government.
By Chris Steyn
There is a real risk of a “flash revolution” if the African National Congress (ANC) continues to fail in meeting the basic needs the country’s citizens are entitled to. This is the warning from Emeritus Professor Francois Vreÿ of the Faculty of Military Science at Stellenbosch University. He speaks to BizNews about the deteriorating provision of “human security” in South Africa – and the mushrooming of “poorly governed” spaces.
“I just think the real risk that we can face if we go downhill all the time on the indicators is the whole idea of a type of flash revolution, where the flash revolution type of shocks government, and government really, they really pull up their socks and they really start doing, and they really start listening, and they really start making inroads into long-standing problems that keep society dissatisfied and keep society type of, you know, in a state of unrest.”
Professor Vreÿ points out that a flash revolution is not a deep revolution that topples a government, but “a type of a widespread simultaneity”. “And I think we saw a small element of it with the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng that really had government sit up and take note.”
He warns: “We just cannot afford this to happen again, because the next time we might not be able to contain it. And I think that was like a little window that opened on what is called a flash revolution that shocked government to say, we really need to take note of this, about what happened, why it happened. And then of course, that our security response was totally out of touch with what was going on.”
The professor says the current protests about “anything from water to sanitation to infrastructure to schools to libraries” are all “little red flashes about dissatisfaction”. “…what we are seeing in South Africa is localised unrest and that unrest, I almost want to say, without exception, those sparks of unrest, is about the perception or the reality of government not bringing required services to those societies.
“It is about the inability and being a type of out-of-touch with what people really want…If you can just make sure in that community that they have access to good sanitation, clean water, and that the children can go to school and that the elderly and the vulnerable have a clinic to go to, you will probably immediately cut back, for example, 80% of the problem.
“But if you sit with this inability, semi-collapse, right down through the provincial to the local authorities, because remember, ultimately, it’s the local authorities that have to extend the practical services to society that will either keep them satisfied, free from fear, free from want and to live with dignity. Not so much central government. Central government must make the resources available…”
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