Last week large parts of KwaZulu-Natal were devastated by looting and vandalism, but Ballito was mostly spared because of the tremendous action by residents of the holiday town.
Former Sunday Times editor and publisher Brian Pottinger shared his experience, which showed how a community stood together when the police and state failed to protect them.
Pottinger was doing night shifts for a week at Ballito’s control points, which he said gave him a lot of time for reflection.
He said the biggest divide during the violent protests was between those communities that took responsibility for protecting their infrastructure and those who did not.
Here is his story, courtesy of Biznews.
On Tuesday morning, our hastily appointed security coordinator told us that all attempts to raise support from the police, army and ANC local structures had failed. We were on our own.
Within 24 hours, we had a functioning Greater Ballito Operations Command, all the control points were manned, legally armed teams were on patrol, a first-class communication system operating through a mobile phone app was in place, and drones with infrared cameras were in the air.
Pickets protected the mobile phone towers, electrical substations, and water points.
The next day stickers were issued to emergency and security personnel to facilitate their movements.
By day three, armed convoys were bringing in essential food, medicines and fuel. When supplies did come through, citizens lined up for hours in orderly lines to buy their 20 items from the supermarkets and R300’s worth of fuel.
No panic. No moaning. And certainly, no expectation anybody was going to help us. The line was held for the six days the state went AWOL (absent without official leave).
Until we squarely address the critical moral decay in some of our communities that saw so many otherwise perfectly well set-up people prefer to join the looters rather than the barricades, we can make no progress.
Talk of poverty is a diversion, and Ramaphosa’s worthy pronouncements an irrelevance.
The North Coast Courier reported four days ago that the swift action from the Ballito community means infrastructure remains intact from Ballito through to Salt Rock.
Mags Westerhof of the Greater Ballito Operations Committee told the newspaper that checkpoints were still needed to protect the areas.
“It is our continued presence at our key entry points that has kept any criminal elements at bay thus far, but we are by no means out of the woods,” Westerhof said.
Comments about Ballito on Twitter
In Ballito and Salt Rock today to thank them for defending their community during this last week. I’m so proud of how they have come together to protect one another. They have worked side by side with SAPS, local law enforcement, CPF’s and even the taxi association. pic.twitter.com/xs8kfvObVS
— Dean Macpherson (@DeanMacpherson) July 16, 2021
Unbelievable! I’m told that @kzngov Premier Sihle Zikalala arrived in Ballito and instructed communities to withdraw from their check-points and take them down. Quite rightful they REFUSED and responded by flooding people and cars to the bridge. Suffice to say he has run off!
— Dean Macpherson (@DeanMacpherson) July 15, 2021
— ★MiShi★ (@_mishmish_) July 17, 2021
Ballito!! Looters will be received with a very ‘warm’ welcome!!👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/Pm90Z9ouuM
— miraaikieB🇿🇦 (@miraaikie) July 15, 2021