Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned those behind the July unrest, saying the long arm of the law will catch up with them.
Ramaphosa took to the stand at the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) National Investigative Hearing into the July 2021 unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
He said the police were busy with their investigations into the unrest.
He said the police should be given time to conduct its probe into the violence and looting. If anyone was found to be behind the violence that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, they need to be charged.
The perpetrators of the violence would have to be brought to book, said Ramaphosa.
There was no place to hide for the instigators of the violence, he said.
Ramaphosa said he was firm in calling for action on those behind the riots, and the country could not tolerate what happened.
He reiterated that South Africa was engulfed in darkness with uncertainty spreading across the country when the riots broke out.
But the SAPS were busy with their work in finding the culprits.
“What I know is that investigations are under way. The police have been investigating, and I have shared this with the nation before that investigations are underway. Of course, everyone wants these investigations concluded yesterday. But these need to be given time because they are complex investigations, and I think we should allow the police in all their workings to conclude these investigations so that they can come forward and say this is what we have found,” said Ramaphosa.
“I don’t know what they are finding. They will disclose what they have found. If there are charges that can be preferred against anyone, either for treason or fomenting violence or unrest, then the rule of law should take place.
“We are a Constitutional state. There can be no place to hide for those who could have perpetrated these types of acts that have led to the killing of 353 people. Where I stand now is that those who were responsible for instigating, for planning, for directing this unrest, certainly, the long arm of the law will find them. I am sure about that,” he said.
Ramaphosa was the last witness of the commission.
Other members of his Cabinet who have testified before the Human Rights Commission include Police Minister Bheki Cele and former Minister of State Security Ayanda Dladla.
Ramaphosa had also said there was no intelligence report that pointed to how the unrest would unfold.
This followed questions from HRC commissioner Andre Gaum.
He said from the reports they received, there was no indication that this would happen.
In the report of the expert panel that he appointed last August, it found there was intelligence failure.