Ramaphosa to address nation on Monday about riots and looting

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20h00 on Monday (12 July), about the violent protests and looting currently taking place in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal.

The address will focus on the government’s response to persistent public violence in parts of the country, the presidency said.

The address follows the announcement by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) that it has commenced with pre-deployment processes and procedures in line with a request for assistance received from the National Joint Operational & Intelligence Structure (Natjoints).

In terms of Section 201(2)(a) of the Constitution, the president may authorise the deployment of the national defence force in cooperation with the police service and must inform Parliament of such employment.

“The president is on record as calling for calm and warning criminal elements that they will face the full might of law as lawlessness is brought to an end and economic activity is allowed to continue,” the presidency said.

“The majority of South Africans do not and should not tolerate violence, the destruction of property and the endangering of livelihoods. People are urged to report criminals by sharing videos of criminal activity with the police.

“People are also asked to pay attention to what they post on social media and to be aware that the sharing of fake news or content that incites violence and looting is a crime.

“It is also a crime to possess, receive and use stolen goods, or to interfere with the police in their execution of their duties.”

Widespread protests

The address comes less than 24 hours after Ramaphosa announced a two-week extension to South Africa’s adjusted level 4 lockdown restrictions.

While Ramaphosa addressed the violent protests on Sunday evening, the situation has continued to deteriorate leading to the South African National Defence Force being deployed.

“Key infrastructure like national roads have been affected, slowing down the transportation of goods and services that keep our economy running.

“Property has been destroyed. Cars have been stoned. People have been intimidated and threatened, and some have even been hurt,” he said.

“These acts are endangering lives and damaging our efforts to rebuild the economy.”

The riots erupted over the weekend, reportedly sparked by the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma last week, but quickly co-opted by opportunists and criminal elements.

Civil action group Outa said that the violence has been fuelled by anger over poor service delivery and the ongoing failure of government at all levels.

The violence and destruction have so far been confined to KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng but this has wide-reaching implications for businesses across the country, as well as the wider economy.

Groups like Makro and Pick n Pay have suffered greatly from the unrest, with looters and criminals stealing products and destroying property, while malls and other outlets have been set on fire.

Businesses in the affected areas have shut down, with essential services like banking operations, healthcare and power maintenance also impacted.

The criminals are targeting retail shops – big and small, including liquor stores – and have stolen merchandise which includes foodstuffs, electrical products and clothing.

Read: SA businesses looted and destroyed in widespread riots – army deployed to intervene

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Ramaphosa to address nation on Monday about riots and looting