14 July 2021, Eyewitness, Thandi Smith

The arrest of former president Jacob Zuma brought with it mixed reactions from all corners of the nation. Given the events that have transpired over recent days, it’s reasonable to say it was a catalyst for a reaction that has caused and continues to cause widespread unrest and criminality with high levels of violence and vigilantism. What role has social media played in providing a platform to enable suggestive and inflammatory content encouraging the violence we have seen? We have witnessed how the conduct on social media by a handful of influential individuals and politicians have come under the spotlight for messaging that may potentially incite violence or are inflammatory, at the very least.

Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy and is a right, outlined in the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. Like any other right, however, there may be limitations. What we have witnessed over the last couple of days are individuals with a particular amount of influence pushing the boundaries of the limitations of freedom of expression.

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