President Ramaphosa has authorized the deployment of 2 500 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel to support the South African Police Service (SAPS) in quelling violence and looting in the country.
In an address at the beginning of the week on acts of violence and destruction of property, the president declared that South Africa is facing “opportunistic acts of criminality, with groups of people instigating chaos merely as a cover for looting and theft”.
The president added that there is “no grievance, nor any political cause, that can justify the violence and destruction that we have seen in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng”.
He stressed that the poor and marginalised bear the ultimate brunt of the destruction.
The violence has meant that “our sick cannot get medication from pharmacies, food does not reach supermarket shelves, and health workers cannot go to work”.
It has also severely disrupted the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
The president pointed out that the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure – known as NatJOINTS – has intensified deployments in all affected areas in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
SAPS is also calling up members from leave and rest days to boost the presence of law enforcement personnel on the ground.
Government is also to prioritise the prosecution of suspects alleged to be involved in the violence.
The president confirmed that the National Security Council is to meet twice a day “to coordinate all measures necessary to restore stability”.
He called on people to “refrain from posting and circulating inflammatory messages on social media, and from spreading rumours or false reports that may create further panic”.
Notice 612 announcing the deployment of the SANDF personnel was published in Government Gazette 44841 in terms of the Defence Act.
According to the defence department, Operation Prosper will be in place from 12 July 2021 until 12 October 2021.