Ramaphosa said the violence that gripped the two provinces was meant to cripple the country and cause instability and even dislodge the state. Despite the widespread destruction the insurrection failed, according to the president.
‘THE INSURRECTION HAS FAILED’
Ramaphosa said the unrest that kicked off after the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma last week was a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on South Africa’s democracy.
“These actions are intended to cripple the economy, cause social instability and severely weaken – or even dislodge – the democratic state. Using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts have sought to provoke a popular insurrection,” said Ramaphosa.
The saboteurs exploited the social and economic conditions under which many South Africans live – conditions that have worsened since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – to provoke citizens and “criminals” into engaging in acts of looting.
“The ensuing chaos is used as a smokescreen to carry out economic sabotage through targeted attacks on trucks, factories, warehouses and other infrastructure necessary for the functioning of our economy and the provision of services to our people,” said Ramaphosa.
The president said despite the widespread destruction the attempted insurrection failed to gain popular support because of the efforts of the country’s security forces and the majority of citizens rejected it and stood up in defence of our democracy.
The protesting, looting and violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has led to at least 212 deaths (180 in KZN; 32 in Gauteng), according Ramaphosa.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) is investigating 131 cases of murder and have opened 81 death inquest dockets.
“Since the unrest started, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure has recorded over 118 incidents of public violence, arson, looting and other unrest-related instances,” said Ramaphosa.
NatJoints preliminary reports indicate that extensive damage has been caused to 161 malls, 11 warehouses, 8 factories and 161 liquor outlets and distributors.
In total, 2554 arrests have been made across both provinces. Since the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to the affected areas the situation in the two provinces has been gradually returning to normality.
The government insists that the unrest was planned and coordinated. The South African Police Service (SAPS) and intelligence services “now have a line of sight” of what was actually happening in the province, Ramaphosa said to the media during his visit to KZN on Friday.
“We are going after them, we have identified a good number of them and we will not allow anarchy and mayhem to unfold in our country,” said Ramaphosa
SAPS announced the arrest of one of the 12 alleged instigators of the looting and violence in South Africa on Thursday, 15 July.
In his address, Ramaphosa said specialised law enforcement agencies are working around the clock to locate and apprehend those responsible for planning and coordinating the violence. The President vowed that no effort would be spared to bring these individuals to justice.
“We will extinguish the fires that are raging, and stamp out every last ember. We will identify and act against those who lit the flame, and those who spread it,” said Ramaphosa.
“We will find those who instigated this violence. They will be held accountable for their deeds. We will not allow anyone to destabilise our country and get away with it.”
News24 identified former ambassador to Japan and ex-spy as one of the 12. On Friday, Dlomo handed himself over to police in Durban, citing safety concerns, according to SABC News. Dlomo denied all the allegations that link him to the unrest and demanded an apology from News24, the Daily Maverick and Deputy State Security Minister Zizi Kodwa in a statement.
Ramaphosa said no one person or group would be allowed to challenge the authority of the democratically elected government. And, while authorities are establishing control in Gauteng and KZN, the effects of the violence will be felt by all South Africans in the days, weeks and months to come.
“If we stand together, no insurrection or violence in this country will succeed,
“We are engaged in a struggle to defend our democracy, our Constitution, our livelihoods and our safety.
“This is not a battle that we can afford to lose.
“When we look back on this moment in our history, let us say that we faced down a grave threat and defeated it together,” said Ramaphosa.