Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Pretoria: A further deployment of members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to areas affected by the ongoing violent attacks in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal is being considered, President Cyril Ramaphosa has told political party leaders.

The President revealed this on Wednesday during an online engagement with leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly.

Parties represented at the meeting included the African National Congress, Democratic Alliance, Inkatha Freedom Party, United Democratic Movement, Freedom Front Plus, Congress of the People, African Christian Democratic Party, the Good Party, Al-Jamah, the African Transformation Movement, National Freedom Party and the Pan Africanist Congress.

During the meeting, the President said government is intensifying its efforts and working in partnership with civil society in an effort to stem public violence affecting various parts of the country.

In a statement, the Presidency said the meeting was part of a series of consultations undertaken by the President in the past two days with different sectors of society to develop a society-wide response to the current outbreak of public violence and economic damage, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

President Ramaphosa said the destruction witnessed by the nation hurts all South Africans, and not only those in the affected areas, and hurts the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable the most.

“The President also cautioned that several areas of the country may soon be running short of basic provisions following the extensive disruption of food, fuel and medicine supply chains,” said the Presidency.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and SANDF Chief, General Rudzani Maphwanya, briefed the leaders of political parties on the deployment of the SANDF at key commercial centres in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

In the meeting, the leaders characterised the situation in the country as “an attack on the democratic order, which requires a multifaceted response in the long-term, in view of deep levels of unemployment and poverty”.

However, leaders said the current conditions called for an immediate restoration of calm and order in communities, enabled by expanded deployment of the South African National Defence Force as a deterrent to violence and other forms of lawlessness.

The Presidency said the leaders urged that major transport routes be secured to allow fuel, food, medical supplies and other necessities to reach communities, and that the 9pm – 4am curfew be strictly enforced.

The political leaders called for greater coordination among the police, the national defence force, intelligence agencies, private security services and community-based safety structures.

President Ramaphosa in the meeting welcomed proposals made by political leaders and said the expanded deployment of the South African National Defence Force is being addressed.

The President noted the initiative taken by leaders of political parties to visit affected communities and said the presence of political leadership in communities at a time like this “is welcome and necessary”.

Party leaders submitted that while political differences exist, the situation in the country demands that South Africans come together to save lives and protect democracy.

Leaders said critical assessments are needed in future to assess how government and the country performs during this difficult time.