South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa deploys South African Defence Force to put an end to ongoing violent riots in the country. Ramaphosa urged the public to not post and circulate inflammatory messages on social media
In order to strengthen security measures to end the ongoing violent riots in the country, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that government has deployed the South African Defence Force.
“Parts of the country are reeling from several days and nights of public violence, destruction of property and looting of the sort rarely seen before in the history of our democracy,” the President said while addressing the nation late on Monday.
“Property has been vandalised and destroyed. Shops have been looted. Law-abiding citizens have been threatened and intimidated. Workers are scared that they may not be able to return to work. People have died,” Ramaphosa said.
The president also added that while the violence initially started in KZN, it has since spread to Gauteng. A total of 166 suspects have been arrested in KZN and 323 suspects have been arrested in Gauteng.
Ramaphosa urged the public to refrain from posting and circulating inflammatory messages on social media, and from spreading rumours or false reports that may create further panic.
“We will take action to protect every person in this country against the threat of violence, intimidation, theft and looting. We will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute those, who perpetrate these actions and will ensure that they face the full might of our law,” Ramaphosa said.
He also added that while this violence may have originated from political or ethnic lines, what the country is witnessing now are opportunistic acts of criminality with groups of people instigating chaos merely as a cover for looting and theft.
The President also warned if this violent riot continues, the country will soon run out of medication and food.
“Our vaccination programme has been severely disrupted just as it was gaining momentum. This will have lasting effects on our ability to consolidate some of the progress we were already witnessing in our economic recovery,” he added.
Ramaphosa has authorised the deployment of the South African Defence Force (SADF) personnel in support of the operations of the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The SAPS is putting measures in place to call up operational members from leave and rest-days to increase the presence of law enforcement personnel on the ground.
The NatJOINTS is receiving support from the Intelligence Coordinating Committee, comprising of SAPS Crime Intelligence, Defence Intelligence and State Security.
In addition to greater visibility and an intelligence-driven presence in potential hotspots, the government will prioritise the prosecution of suspects alleged to be involved in this violence.
The National Security Council, chaired by Ramaphosa, will be meeting twice a day to coordinate all measures necessary to restore stability.
The government will work with the business sector to ensure the safety of drivers, cashiers, patients and customers.
Arrangements are being made for government leaders and public representatives as part of their responsibilities to meet with leaders in various communities to promote stability.
As part of the ongoing engagement with key sectors of society, Ramaphosa will be meeting with leaders of political parties to discuss the current situation.