South African president Cyril Ramaphosa (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the unrest that ripped through South Africa last week was stabilising and calm has been restored to most of the affected areas. He added the destruction will cost the country billions of rand. Ramaphosa addressed the nation over the rioting that broke out after his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, was jailed for failing to appear at a corruption inquiry
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday, the unrest that has ripped through South Africa in the past week was stabilising and calm has been restored to most of the affected areas, but the destruction will cost the country billions of rand.
Ramaphosa was addressing the nation over the rioting that broke out in several parts of the country last week after his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, was jailed for failing to appear at a corruption inquiry.
The unrest swiftly degenerated into looting, which has destroyed hundreds of businesses and killed over 200 people, driven by widespread anger over the poverty and inequality that persist nearly three decades after the end of white minority rule.
The police has arrested over 2,500 people suspected to be involved in inciting violence and that these cases are being prioritised, Ramaphosa said.
"It is our firm view that the deployment of our security forces, working together with communities and social partners across the country, will be able to restore order and prevent further violence," he said.
"We will extinguish the fires that are raging, and stamp out every last ember."
The president said using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts have sought to provoke a popular insurrection.
"They have sought to exploit the social and economic conditions under which many South Africans live," he said.