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it's time tojoin it's time to join sivan sackur for hardtalk. it's time to join sivan sackurfor hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. south africa is facing its deepest political crisis of the post—apartheid era. its deepest political crisis after days of violence and looting which saw more than 200 people killed and thousands arrested, president ramaphosa claimed there'd been a well—planned attempt to provoke insurrection and bring down the democratic state. whatever the truth of that, it's clear the social and economic fabric of the country has been badly weakened. my guest is transport minister fikile mbalula. is the ruling anc being confronted with its own failure?
fikile mbalula in cape town, welcome to hardtalk. thank you for having me, and to all your listeners. it's a pleasure to have you on the show. tell me, minister, how would you characterise the shocking, the terrible violence that swept across parts of your country last week? it was a hyped—up... ..accumulation of anarchy at the highest level, as you know that anarchy is the higher state of disorder, and then it exhibited opportunistic
elements like criminality, as a result of the unemployed, you know, jumping into the bandwagon of looting. because of their vulnerability, which in the main majority are just innocent stand—byers who justjoined the hype, but the orchestrators of this, from the calls, the mobilisation on social networks, it had all the characteristics of an attempt on undermining the democratic state and mobilising for its overthrow. in essence, you seem to be saying, pretty much as your president said, that this was some sort of well—planned, organised insurrection. you're pretty much calling it an attempted coup d'etat. the insurrection is an ultimate end of....
coup plotters, they will hope for, but the ground for them was not fertile, because for you to achieve an insurrection, you've got to have a weakened state in the form of the police, to maintain law and order, and the soldiers. and probably on our part, our response to this was delayed with a couple of days, and it gave them a field day. but for all the days they had, the plotters, they couldn't achieve that result. but they wanted, they attempted, they mobilised, they orchestrated, they called for the sabotage of key economic elements and demobilisation of the army and then mobilised for an attack, and in direct intimidation of the judges, particularlyjudge zondo. right.
see, minister, what you are saying to me is extraordinary. you and indeed your boss, the president of the country, seem to be saying that there was an extraordinarily well—planned, orchestrated attempt to bring down the democratically elected government and your democratic institutions. but surely you cannot say that without clear evidence? if there is no evidence, what credibility does that claim have? well, the evidence is overwhelming in the sense that, from their recordings and things that they planned and they threatened to go in to do, they did. who is "they", minister? it's not clear to me at all who is the leadership that you appear to be pointing toward. well, they are faceless, steve.
voice notes and all of that, those that we know at a political level is... carl niehaus was in the forefront, and some other people around him were basically in the forefront of calling for undermining of the rule of law. well, you know as well as i do that no charges have been brought against the individual that you just named, and therefore, in legal terms, we have to be extra... well, you, and indeed, we at the bbc have to be extraordinarily careful here. no charges have been laid against that individual. thousands of people have been arrested, but nobody has been accused, as far as i'm aware, of leading some sort of coup, insurrection, attempt to bring down the democratic government. and some might say that you and mr ramaphosa are simply
trying to divert attention from the parlous state of the economy, the desperation that your people feel, which was exhibited on the streets when so many people took the opportunity simply to loot shops and try and win some new possessions. i have admitted from the onset that this attempted insurrection, and what i characterise as anarchy, was it an insurrection? no. was there an attempt for an insurrection? yes. i have characterised that it exhibited opportunistic elements of criminality, exploiting the fact that the majority of our people and the youth in particular are unemployed. and as a result, they got into the bandwagon of looting and looting and looting. i don't know... i don't know if you've had the opportunity to talk to your own defence minister, your cabinet colleague, because she briefed thejoint standing committee
on defence that there was, quote, "notan insurrection or a coup". "if it had been such a thing," she said, "it would have had a face." and that's my point, too. there is no face to this coup, as far as i can tell. there is a face. the element of it will deny that they basically physically were there to petrol bomb. but there were people who were there, who were there openly on social media encouraging and supporting the vandalism that went through in our country and that they were not brave enough to stand up to it, to be in the forefront burning themselves. they were calling for anarchy from the conditioned offices or wherever they were, for this particular anarchy to ensue.
let me ask you about a theory which some in south africa are peddling, and i've looked carefully at, for example, the words coming out of the thabo mbeki foundation, who have talked about an insurgency and they've linked it directly to what is called in south africa "state ca pture". now that, over the past decade, is the phrase that's come to be used for the endemic structural corruption with some of... within some of the key institutions of your government. and the mbeki foundation is saying that that they see signs of state capture. are you part and parcel of that theory? do you buy into it? it is not far from the characterisation i've given to you. it is probablyjust a difference of terminology, but it is actually the same. the fact that the state capture weakened organs of state and the state capacity to intervene is a matter that has been examined, and we are dealing decisively
with that. so to be clear, then, you're not able, as a senior minister in your government, you're not able right now to trust your own security and intelligence apparatus because you think they've been penetrated by people and forces that want to bring down your government. is that it? no, we have 100% trust in them. it could have happened that the scale of this, this attempt, would have been dire if ever they had not reacted. but the reaction time is what i'm talking about, that probably took longer than we were supposed to intervene immediately and decisively. we... besides that, our democracy is so strong such that the majority of south africans just looked on as people were attempting to do this
and they did notjoin. on their own, they will overthrow this government if they want, but they didn't. and that's how the plotters and the orchestrators were defeated. they were defeated by the power of the people, and later on, complemented by a decisive action by the state deployment in the affected areas. we have to mention former presidentjacob zuma at this point. he, of course, has in the past been one of the most important operators within the anc intelligence operations. he has, thanks, of course, also to his role as president, very strong connections throughout the security and intelligence services in south africa. of course, he's now languishing in prison, and many see his imprisonment as the spark that lit the fires in south africa last week. what do you believe is zuma's connection, if any, to what we have just seen?
south africa has got 60 million people, and just to make it clear to everybody who doesn't know where this thing happened, it happened in parts of kwazulu—natal, durban metro and a few outer skirts out of kwazulu—natal. and then, in gauteng, it happened in and around soweto and alexandra, and then the rest of the country was not involved in this. of course, we cannot deny the fact that there was such an undermining and say that it wasn't a small scale. it was for the first time we came across such a level of anarchy. zuma's name, a former president, who has been used by these criminal elements, anarchists, as the main thing why they are burning down the malls and all of that. and we asked an ideological question.
you can't say you're standing for good, that you're fighting for the poorest of the poor, who majority is africans, and then you go and loot amongst them and impoverish them further and get them to the doldrums of unemployment further, which is what this looting is done. so this can't be, you know, something that, for those who perpetrate these activities, can be anything close to a socialist revolution. it just. .. that is not a revolution. it is anarchy. do you think the security forces, led by the police, allowed that massive economic disruption to happen? there were forces within who allowed it to happen. ithought, steve, i've already answered you. i said that the might of the state was challenged, and that we might have reacted
in terms of time, not on time. and why? why? i am analysing for you. you are interrupting me. i am saying too there are milestones in their reaction that would have prompted them to delay, because at some point, this was going to come as a result of incarceration, that with former president arrest, there will be chaos and anarchy in the country. it didn't happen. it did happen! of course it happened. we saw... no! hang on, hang on. let us just look at the vulnerability, because you're the minister of transport. you know better than me that the disruption was massive. some of your main highways were blocked. durban port was not able to function. one of your biggest oil refineries was shut down. the economists in your country reckon its cost you 0.7% of gdp over the whole year. we're talking about more than three billion us dollars of losses. all of this happened,
and then you now seem to be saying to me, well, it's partly because the state just wasn't ready. no, i'm not saying that. you are very impatient with me. i am saying to you, first, there is an admission on my analysis to say to you our reaction time. we can't be proud of it. that's one. you say why, and is it because the capacity of the state was affected by what president mbeki's saying. i said over the years... now, president zuma, president zuma, we're talking about, surely. yeah, president zuma, but you also looked at mbeki in terms of his analogy, and i said i'm not farfrom. it is the same. it is a difference of terminology. so i'm saying zuma's, former president zuma's incarceration was going to happen in stages, and then you were asking a question, why didn't the police react on time and the state? i said, i've admitted to you that it was the reaction
and then in this particular instance, i think we could have reacted much better and faster to this. it is simply because the anarchy, as how we have come to define it, came in the guerrilla form. you know, it didn't simply erupt because there was an act of spontaneity, people are angry, they are burning things. it was organised, well—orchestrated by people who had their weapons of destruction, petrol bombs or whatever they had... right. ..to target, to target certain attorneys... i understand you want to talk about the orchestrators, or as you've called them in the past, the terrorists. i understand you want to talk about them. the fact is, you can't specifically tell me who they are. you can't even tell me what evidence you've got
as to their existence, but i... by the authorities. yeah, well, i understand. all right. i understand. that's hugely important, and south africans will want to look at that evidence, but they'll also want to look at the underlying conditions. if you like, they'll want to look at the kindling that these instigators that you are talking about used to light the fires in south africa last week, and the kindling surely is the failure over 27 years of your anc to address the structural problems in your country? you've got 32% official unemployment, but really it's much higher, and for young people, it's almost 70% unemployment. you have the most unequal society in the world, according to many measurements. and you in the anc,
over more than a quarter of a century, have failed to fix those problems. you are very much incorrect. you are right about the high rate of unemployment. to say that it all started with the anc, it is anc failure, you are wrong completely. you're simply erasing apartheid in 27 years. and when we inherited a bankrupt state... ..you know very well, and then we had to deal with that, and when our economy itself could not function at the maximum where we wanted to be, we are affected by objective realities that the whole world is affected with, and it has further exacerbated our situation. and... you've been in powerfor 27 years, and in the wake of what happened last week... what is 27 compared to more than 300 years of oppression?
is that the message you give to south africa's people, that more than a quarter of a century isn't long enough for you to make any real difference to the fate of people in your country? 300 years of colonisation... i understand that... ..and oppression! but you have to give people... that is a lot to have done in 27 years. you have to give... that is a lot to have done... ..millions of south africans, you have to give them the belief you can change their lives, and you're not giving them that belief. ..did not believe in this government. i've characterised for you where these things happened. there would have been an upsurge and this country would be in flames. we would not even be here to talk to you. they will. .. the masses would have risen. they didn't! i'm telling you that these are opportunistic elements,
criminality based on the fact that our people are unemployed. if you've been there, you've been there. even the ideology targeting the poorest of the poor africans in particular, it tells you this is anarchy. busi mavuso of business leadership south africa, he says that, "what we are seeing right now "with the violence last week is simply inflicting "further damage on an economy teetering on a precipice. "we," he says, "are on the brink of becoming "a failed state." we will fight with everything to ensure that south africa does not become a failed state and it will never be. let me quote you the words of an influential writer, kenan malik, who said this after the events of the past week. "the dehumanising effect of post — "that is post—apartheid policies — "in south africa has served
to undermine "the social fabric in the country." what a depressing conclusion to reach. would you agree? the analysts and those who write about the events of the past week that has engulfed our country, part of our country and not the whole, they relate the situation as though we have failed to accept the fact among others, of a higher rate of unemployment, and our recovery plan is taking off, and yet all our efforts have been undermined by these sideshows that include this anarchy we are talking about. yeah, the thing is, south africa from the outside looks dysfunctional.
you are in cape town. you've been dealing with what are called the taxi wars in recent days, where more than 80 people have been murdered in a fight over turf between different rival taxi companies. in durban and kwazulu—natal, we see territorial violence between black south africans and south africans of indian heritage who own businesses, and inflammatory ethnic messages on social media. when kenan malik talks about the undermining of south africa's social fabric, that's what he's referring to. yours no longer looks like the rainbow nation of mandela. it looks like a nation that could tear itself apart. the rainbow nation we're talking about was built on... ..on the basis of a state that was bankrupt, and that. . . it affected
the social fabric of our society disintegration, and we are in the process of rebuilding that. the taxi wars you are talking about, we've come from far to get them to... under control. under apartheid, this is what we inherited, and where we are now, we're talking of an industry that has actually been defined outside the formal economy, but which has a potential of a0 billion rand injection into the economy, and we are fully now driving the agenda of fully regulating the industry and at the same time, to address all these anomalies or wars that have characterised the industries such as the taxi industry. minister... forgive me, minister, i'm really sorry, we're out of time.
just very briefly, for how long do you think you can continue to blame your inheritance for what is happening in south africa today rather than acknowledging that the anc must take responsibility itself? unfortunately, the inheritance is not what we blame. it's what we inherited and we seek to undo it every day, and that is what it is. so if you guys think out there that what we have inherited can be undone in 27 years, then tell us how you managed to colonise the whole of africa and at the same time managed to rebuild your own nations. because if you talk about common nationhood, some of which developed nations have not even achieved it, and you want south africa to talk about common nationhood. all right. through the concept of rainbow nation, that we are of it, if not, we are a failed state.
it's incorrect. we are building. all right, minister, i get the message loud and clear. i wish we had more time, but we are out of time, so, fikile mbalula, i thank you very much for joining me on hardtalk. thank you, steve. it is hard talk! hello. the heat goes on and it will do for a couple more days and indeed nights. because of the persistence of the heat the met office have issued in extreme heat warning. two particular areas have been identified,
this one to the south west of england covering part of the midlands and wales, this one across northern ireland which comes into force on wednesday. it doesn't mean that these are the areas exclusively affected by the heat but these are two areas identified as potentially having the biggest impacts. you can see the heat an issue really from first thing on wednesday. we start our day with temperatures around 20 celsius in many areas. it will be a little cooler through wednesday perhaps down some of the north sea coast. just because we will pull a little bit more cloud in here but overall, still a very hot day lies ahead. temperatures across the southern uk widely in the high 20s to the low 30s, hotting up significantly will be northern ireland, hence while itjoins that heat warning perhaps 30 degrees towards the south west here. warmer along the north coast than yesterday but still cloudy for northern scotland with some lingering sea fog. here temperatures are peaking in the near teens. that is the one area that stands out to being
significantly cooler. later in the day potentially for showers across the north west of england — certainly another hot, humid night to come for many. we move into thursday, i suspect there will barely be a cloud in the sky and the temperatures will rise accordingly. still for northern scotland some cloud around and that does just hold things back in terms of the temperatures but even here things are creeping up — stornaway getting closer to 20 degrees with a potentially 31 for the south west of northern ireland, 31 or the south of england and wales. a change friday, a subtle one to start off with, an easterly wind and temperatures start to edge back. but through friday evening and overnight into saturday and on into the weekend low pressure starts to take hold from the south west. it will inject showers into england and wales, some heavy spells of rain to come for some. it will pull cooler air across all parts of the uk. so by saturday some sunshine for scotland
this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm david eades. the us climate envoyjohn kerry issues a passionate plea to step up efforts to tackle climate change — with a stark warning about any failure to act now. this test is now as acute and as existential as any previous one. torrential rain in central china is causing widespread disruption — these passengers had to be rescued from a subway train dry land at last — a flotilla of small vessels brings a record number of migrants across the english channel the billionaires space race heats up, as amazon founderjeff bezos launches to the edge of the cosmos — taking him on an emotional high.