by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated his position that the recent looting and vandalism in some parts of South Africa was a failed insurrection by detractors of his government.
He restated the sentiments during a virtual meeting with business
leaders on Tuesday when he unveiled a set of priorities his
administration would embark on to spearhead the recovery of the economy.
“As indicated in my address to the nation last Friday, the evidence that we have indicates that the events last week were part of a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy, the rule of law and our constitution,” the president said.
Ramaphosa said the actions were intended to cripple the economy, cause social instability and severely weaken or even dislodge the democratic state.
“Those behind the acts sought to exploit the social and economic
conditions of millions of South Africans to provoke ordinary citizens and activate criminal networks to engage in opportunistic acts of looting,” Ramaphosa said.
He said while there was planning and coordination, local
conditions, tensions and conflicts had also contributed to the anarchy that left over 200 people dead.
“The ensuing chaos was 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.”
His sentiments followed contradiction positions with his defence
minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who dispelled the position the
upheavals were tantamount to insurrection.
Ramaphosa meanwhile has outlined four priorities of the government to resuscitate the economy after days of looting and vandalism.
“Our first priority is to restore and maintain stability,” he said.
Government has significantly increased the presence and visibility of security forces on the ground in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
The bulk of the 25 000 South African National Defence Forces personnel have been deployed in support of the police and other law enforcement agencies.
“Our second priority is to secure essential supplies,” the president said.
He said the move was aimed at returning of ports and rail lines to full operation and restoring manufacturing capacity of vital goods.
He said the third priority was the provision of relief in order to begin rebuilding exercise.
Ramaphosa’s government is in the process of providing immediate food relief to households, targeting areas affected by the looting.
Provincial departments of Social Development and Social Security Agency (SASSA) are providing support in the form of food parcels, cash and food vouchers.
The Solidarity Fund has established a Humanitarian Crisis Relief Fund to assist the neediest.
“Our fourth priority is to accelerate inclusive economic recovery,” Ramaphosa explained.
More than 90 chief executives officers and business leaders of key
industries impacted by last week’s civil unrest participated, as well as Premiers of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces including several cabinet ministers.
– CAJ News