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S/Africa: Insurrection failed to gain popular support – Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was now clear that the events of the past week were “nothing less…

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was now clear that the events of the past week were “nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated, and well-planned attack on democracy.”The president said this Friday evening to explain to the nation on the country’s security situation which has seen the death of over 212 people and the arrest of over 2,550 others in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. 

Ramaphosa said the violence experienced in parts of the two provinces — characterised by looting, property destruction and loss of life — was an attempted insurrection that failed to gain popular support.

“It has failed because of the efforts of our security forces. It has failed because South Africans have rejected it and have stood up in defence of our hard-won democracy,” Ramaphosa said.

He added: “The constitutional order of our country is under threat. The current instability and ongoing incitement to violence constitutes a direct contravention of the Constitution and the rule of law.”

He said events of the past week were “intended to cripple the economy, cause social instability and severely weaken – or even dislodge – the democratic State.”

According to him, “using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts have sought to provoke a popular insurrection.” 

“They have sought to exploit the social and economic conditions under which many South Africans live – conditions that have worsened since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic – and to provoke ordinary citizens and criminal networks to engage in opportunistic acts of looting,” Ramaphosa said.

The president’s address follows his visit earlier in the day to KwaMashu, Springfield, Mobeni and Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal to assess the impact of public violence and looting.

He said during his walk through the streets of Durban, he saw people cleaning up the streets, rebuilding their lives, standing together united in their diversity – young and old, men and women, black and white.

“They were grateful for the support of the security forces and made it clear to me that they stand united and will work with government to restore stability,” Ramaphosa said.

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