South Africa

Riots: The good, bad and ugly from Ramaphosa’s speech | Muhabarishaji News

President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed the nation on Friday 16 July for the third time in a week, to lay out his government’s response to the security crisis that unfolded this past week in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Ramaphosa visited hot spots in KZN on Friday to see for himself, the damage wrought on the province by looters who targeted businesses, and private and public property. Ramaphosa admitted in this address that security agencies were caught off-guard and were not prepared for the intensity of the violence that unfolded.

“The streets and buildings I saw bear the scars of looting and mayhem. But what is most devastating is the toll that these events have taken on people’s lives, livelihoods and sense of security. The human toll will take much longer to repair,” Ramaphosa said.

Let’s have a look at the up and downs of Ramaphosa’s address, and what action he has promised over the next few days.

THE GOOD

Over 2,550 people have been arrested in connection with the unrest, and special arrangements are being put in place to ensure that these cases are prioritised.

Ramaphosa has authorised the deployment of 25 000 members of the South African National Defence Force to support the work of the police. Of these, 10 000 are now on the ground, with the remaining forces arriving in their respective areas of deployment over the course of the weekend.

The N3 freeway between eThekwini and Gauteng has been re-opened and security forces are in place to keep vital supply routes open.

SANDF members have been deployed to protect key installations and commercial sites that are vital to the functioning of the economy and the uninterrupted provision of services to citizens.

Specialised units of our law enforcement agencies are working around the clock to locate and apprehend those responsible for planning and coordinating this violence.

Provincial Departments of Social Development and SASSA will use their remaining budget in the Social Relief of Distress programme to provide support in the form of food parcels, cash, and food vouchers.

“We are working hard to bring all SASSA offices into operation. Cash pay points are expected to resume services from the 19th of July in all the areas that have been declared safe to operate,” Ramaphosa added.

The Solidarity Fund has established a Humanitarian Crisis Relief Fund. Ramaphosa has called on all South Africans to support this fund.

Help is on the way for small businesses, including those in townships and rural areas, to heal from the damage they have suffered, Ramphosa said.

“Our business people provide important goods and services in our communities, and we will help them to rebuild their businesses. A team in the Presidency and National Treasury is hard at work to develop a comprehensive support package for Cabinet’s consideration,” he said

THE BAD 

The destruction of property and theft of goods has cost businesses, consumers, and the country as a whole billions of rands.

According to preliminary reports compiled by NatJoints, extensive damage has been caused to 161 malls & shopping centres, 11 warehouses, 8 factories & 161 liquor outlets, and distributors. This doesn’t include damage caused to roads and other infrastructure.

THE UGLY 

Since the outbreak of this violence, at least 212 people have lost their lives. Of these, 180 have been in KwaZulu-Natal, and 32 in Gauteng.

The South African Police Service is investigating 131 cases of murder and has opened inquest dockets in respect of 81 deaths.

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