Rep. Bass Statement on Escalating Violence in South Africa
“I stand with the people of South Africa and call for calm and order in the country. Culprits disguised as citizens have used the arrest and trial of former President Jacob Zuma to commit violence all across the country. On the surface, the recent violence is because of Jacob Zuma being sentenced to 15 months in jail. Citizens are frustrated over post-apartheid promises that have not addressed youth unemployment and the unequal distribution of wealth, and now the COVID pandemic has exacerbated the political, social, and economic tensions in the country.
"Although the people of South Africa have the right to peacefully protest, they do not have the right to loot, destroy property, and break the law. The violence has caused the suspension of essential government services in several provinces, including in Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal. It has also caused the country’s currency to drop, and banks, real estate companies, and retail firms have declined due to the inactiveness of the local economy.
"The Government of South Africa must also continue to give its citizens the platform and space to voice their socio-economic and political grievances, but they also must secure and safeguard the country from illicit behavior and those who violate the law.
"Again, the current violence not only impacts South Africa, but the surrounding SADC regional bloc. The international community must continue to support the African Union and SADC in ensuring that South Africa remains a viable political and economic stronghold on the continent.”