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President Cyril Ramaphosa Admits Government Was Poorly Prepared to Deal with Unrest in SA

Jul 16, 2021

Faizel Patel – 16/072021

President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa was poorly prepared for an orchestrated plan of sabotage.

Ramaphosa was addressing the nation on Friday on the deadly riots and looting that has gripped the country.

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

Ramaphosa says police are also investigating 131 cases of murder and have opened inquest dockets in respect of 81 deaths while 2,550 people have been arrested so far.

The president says the country was not ready for the unrest, violence and looting.

He says the ensuing chaos was used as a smokescreen to carry out economic sabotage on infrastructure necessary for the functioning of the economy.

“We must admit we were poorly prepared for an orchestrated plan of sabotage. We did not have the capabilities and the plans in place to respond swiftly and decisively. The police exercised commendable restraint to avoid escalation.”

Ramaphosa says government 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. 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. We will not allow any person or any group to challenge the authority of our democratically elected government.”

He says once the crisis has passed, government will conduct a critical and thorough review.

“Our priorities are to stabilise the country, secure supplies and infrastructure, thirdly to provide support, recovery, rebuilding. Encourage citizens defence of democracy.”

Ramaphosa says to assist with the immediate needs of affected communities, the Solidarity Fund has established a Humanitarian Crisis Relief Fund to assist those in greatest need.

“The violence and destruction has done enormous damage to our economy at a time when we are trying to recover from the pandemic. Ultimately it will deepen poverty. The widespread looting will fuel further increase in Covid infections.”

Ramaphosa also thanked the journalists who have been reporting as the events have been unfolding.

“I’ve watched many of them get into very dangerous situations so that we may all be informed.”

Ramaphosa says as South Africa  join people around the world in celebrating Mandela Day on Sunday, people should use the day to provide food to the most vulnerable, to clean up our streets and to start the task of rebuilding.

(Twitter: @FaizelPatel143)

 

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