Looting and rioting in South Africa — President Ramaphosa to address nation

Update: The President is scheduled to address the nation at 20:00.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address South Africa on Monday evening regarding government’s response to public violence in parts of the country, acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said in a statement.

The exact time of the Ramaphosa’s address is to be announced.

“The address will follow the announcement by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) that it has commenced with pre-deployment processes and procedures in line with a request for assistance received from the National Joint Operational & Intelligence Structure (Natjoints),” Ntshavheni stated.

“The request entails SANDF support for police operations in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.”

Ntshavheni said that the President may authorise the deployment of the national defence force in cooperation with the police service, and must inform Parliament of such employment, in terms of Section 201(2)(a) of the Constitution.

“The President is on record as calling for calm and warning criminal elements that they will face the full might of law as lawlessness is brought to an end and economic activity is allowed to continue,” said Ntshavheni.

“The majority of South Africans do not and should not tolerate violence, the destruction of property and the endangering of livelihoods. People are urged to report criminals by sharing videos of criminal activity with the police.”

Ntshavheni also said that people should pay attention to what they post on social media and to be aware that the sharing of fake news or content that incites violence and looting is a crime.

“It is also a crime to possess, receive and use stolen goods, or to interfere with the police in the execution of their duties.”

The army’s deployment comes as riots and looting grip parts of Johannesburg and the greater Durban area.

Businesses such as Dis-Chem, First National Bank, and MTN have informed clients that their stores and branches in the affected areas have been temporarily closed.

Videos posted online show clashes between residents and looters, trucks set alight on the N3 highway, and the vandalism and destruction of property in both major metropolitan areas.

Police have conducted mass arrests of looters in the places where they are deployed, but the forces are spread thin and rioters have run amok in areas where there is no police presence.

While the outbreak of violence began as a protest in response to the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma for being in contempt of court, it has devolved into mobs of people breaking into shops, warehouses, and malls.

Looters then help themselves to goods and leave a trail of destruction in their wake.

Other videos show purported clashes between community militias and looters.

According to one report, a vehicle looters were using to transport stolen goods was set alight and a man killed in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal.

Now read: South Africa is burning — Shocking videos of rampant looting and violence

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Looting and rioting in South Africa — President Ramaphosa to address nation