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July unrest: Lack of intelligence was one of the biggest weaknesses

Nosiviwe Maphisa-Nqakula. PICTURE: Bongiwe Mchunu

Nosiviwe Maphisa-Nqakula. PICTURE: Bongiwe Mchunu

Published Nov 22, 2021


Former minister defence and military veterans and current Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, revealed that KZN police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi went on paternity leave during the July unrest.

Mapisa-Nqakula delivered her testimony on the deadly July unrest to the South African Human Rights Commission on Monday.

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The violent, failed insurrection, as President Cyril Ramaphosa referred to it, claimed the lives of 350 people and caused R50 billion in damages.

The purpose of Monday’s hearing was to look into the role that was played by the law enforcement agencies before, during and after the unrest.

Mapisa-Nqakula further revealed that Mkhwanazi was disrespectful and was reluctant to provide information.

She said that during the unrest, 2 500 soldiers were deployed at national key points, but Ramaphosa proposed that 10 000 members be put on the ground.

There was no co-operation between the SANDF and the KZN provincial SAPS teams, said Mapisa-Nqakula, who stayed in the province for nine days during the unrest.

The SANDF's role is not of law enforcement but offers support to the SAPS when called upon to do so, when overwhelmed, she said.

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Gauteng provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela also gave testimony on Monday, and said there was no intelligence report for the unrest, although the police received flyers and posters on social media that could not be verified.

Mawela said the lack of intelligence was one of the biggest weaknesses, and affected police deployment.

Suspended national police commissioner Khehla Sitole earlier testified that the lack of police resources contributed to the violence and looting.

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However, he said that should another episode of unrest occur, he believed the team would be prepared.

“It will depend on the modus operandi, but from the readiness of the organisation I have established an operationalise and modus operandi centre so that we know and understand the modus operandi.

“What I can add to the recent unrest is that it was not only a physical process, but there was also the use of technology which lifted the modus operandi to another level. I think we also were focusing on the enhancement of the activation plan,” he said.

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