President calls for tough action against those responsible for unrest in KZN and Gauteng
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DURBAN - “I want to make it clear that law and order will be maintained,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa, who warned that tough action would be taken against those found to have incited the violence seen across two provinces last week.
In his address to the nation on the country's response to the Covid pandemic, Ramaphosa said two weeks ago KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were hit by deliberate, planned and co-ordinated acts of violence designed to create conditions for unrest.
Hundreds of shops, malls and warehouses were looted and some burnt in riots in both provinces.
“This led to the loss of more than 300 lives, the looting of shops, warehouses and factories, damage to critical infrastructure, and disruption of the country’s economy.
“We are still counting the cost of this violence, and coming to terms with the destruction that it left in its wake,” Ramaphosa said.
In order to ensure stability and order in both provinces, there has been an increase of SAPS and SANDF deployment to hot spots, he said.
“We have maintained this deployment in areas regarded as potential hot spots, as well as key economic and government infrastructure, shopping centres, warehouses and factories. Security forces are also responsible for keeping critical supply routes open and safeguarding the transport of goods.
“Through these measures, we have been able to restore order in affected areas and to return the ports, freight rail network and road transport to full operational capacity. Investigations into the violence and those behind it are continuing, led by our specialised law enforcement units, with a view to speedy arrests and effective prosecutions," the president said.
He added that special measures have been put in place to manage the large number of suspects who have been arrested for offences related to the unrest.
“The SAPS has activated its community policing strategy in areas throughout the country, which has involved communities in preventing further incidents,“ he added.
Ramaphosa said further arrests would be made.
“We are taking decisive action now to secure the livelihoods of millions of people that have been threatened by both the pandemic and the unrest,” he said.