15 July 2021
Fellow South Africans and members of the media
The violence, looting and destruction of key infrastructure that has been reported mainly in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has continued overnight and throughout the day. We are, however, getting positive reports that the deployment of additional law enforcement agencies is starting to reap positive results as we are seeing less incidents of violence and looting reported. Currently 5000 members of the SANDF have already deployed on the ground. The law enforcement officers supported by the military are working tirelessly to ensure that the country returns to peace and stability and that those responsible for the instability are quickly brought to book. The different Ministers have also been tasked to undertake monitoring visits to different areas where the violence and looting has been reported to assess the situation and to call for calm from all members of the community.
As the situation stands, there are 208 incidents that have been reported overnight in Gauteng (52) and KwaZulu-Natal (156)where shopping malls and centres have been looted and vandalized. With the looting of shopping malls and centres, the community members are raising concerns of food shortages and stoppage of key economic activities. There are also reports of panic buying by members of the public. We urge members of the public to remain calm and exercise restraint during these trying times. Government is working with the National Consumer Goods Council to ensure food security. If we have members of the public flocking into the shops and malls to buy food stuff we also risk spreading the COVID-19 virus into uncontrollable levels.
Another area of concern that has been brought into the attention of Government is members of the community taking up arms to try and protect their properties. We understand the concern for community for their safety and their need to protect their properties. We would like to urge these communities to work with the law enforcement agencies to stop the looting and violence and to operate within the rule of law. If we have everybody taking up arms, we stand a risk of having unruly elements also hijacking the noble efforts of the community.
Fellow South Africans, we also want to caution members of the media and community not to release or circulate sensitive information on the investigations on identified suspects who are behind the violence and looting. This situation will jeopardize sensitive investigations which are ongoing and it can affect the judiciary processes. We therefore appeal for responsible reporting and sharing of sensitive information. We will share specific email address and WhatsApp number through which to report sensitive information.
In conclusion, the Government is working with different sectors to ensure that we bring an end to the looting and violence. We all need to speak with one voice to condemn the lawlessness and to work together to ensure that we root out this scourge in our communities. Government appreciates the support of South Africans who have resoundingly rejected the destruction of their beautiful country, the business sector (big and small) who have partnered with their government to ensure continued operation of the South African economy and critical supplies, the political leadership from across all political parties who are represented in our Parliament for putting political differences aside for the benefit of our beloved country, and traditional and interfaith leaders for partnering with their government to call for calm in our communities.