President Cyril Ramaphosa says it is abundantly clear that the last week of unrest and looting was instigated.
Speaking during an oversight visit to eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday (16 July), Ramaphosa said that the government was dealing with a ‘very difficult situation’ and that he has been in constant contact with provincial premiers, ministers, and security forces to get all the updates.
“There were people who planned this and coordinated it. Our intelligence services and our police have now got a line of sight of what actually was happening here. We are after those people, we are going after them.”
President Ramaphosa said the instigators intended to spread instability in the country.
“We will not allow anarchy and mayhem to just unfold in our country. It is most unfortunate that so much damage has been done to the country and people have lost their lives – that is the most concerning issue,” he said.
I am pleased that provincial officials, led by Premier Sihle Zikalala, MECs and other leaders, were first on the ground to assess the impact of the public violence and deal with the situation. Our soldiers and our police were also on the ground to deal with a difficult situation. pic.twitter.com/dm6bW5ahfY
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) July 16, 2021
In the seven days of the unrest, 95 people lost their lives. Beyond this, billions of rands of damage were inflicted on the KZN economy when businesses and infrastructure were looted and razed in fires, the president said.
“People are now going to go forward having lost jobs and the economic damage that has been done,” he said.
“The country’s image as an economic destination had been severely dented, not just to local investors but also to external investors. “We’ve really been taken backwards on our path to economic recovery.”
Ramaphosa said that the government could also have done better in managing its response to the protests.
“Primary in the minds of the Minister of Police and commanders was to save lives, to make sure that we did not get into a situation which could have resulted in more mayhem,” he said.
“We regret that the situation has resulted in this. This is not what we want to see in our country.”