KZN & Gauteng unrest: Will Ramaphosa declare a state of emergency?

As the riots continue to sweep across Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), there have been growing calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a State of Emergency in the country, as a measure to handle the crisis.

Over the past few days, South Africa has seen sporadic protests and looting in both provinces, during which shops, malls and other business establishments have been targeted.

They first started as semi-violent demonstrations demanding the release of former president Jacob Zuma from prison, in KZN, but soon spread to Gauteng, where the looting sprees began. While government maintains it’s got the situation under control, the worrying scenes being broadcast on the local news channels, tell a different story.

Law enforcement officers, including the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have been roped in to help contain the chaos. The unrest has sadly not been without bloodshed as 72 people have already been confirmed dead, while a total of 1 234 arrests have been made thus far (549 of these made in KwaZulu-Natal and 683 in Gauteng).

No State of Emergency for South Africa yet

Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, says President Cyril Ramaphosa will only declare a State of Emergency when the need arises.

Mapisa-Nqakula was speaking during a briefing by Ministers in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster, in light of the unrest that has rocked both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

“For now, I don’t think there is an indication that there should be a State of Emergency,” she said.

“If the time comes, informed by intelligence gathered and coordinated by the three entities [SAPS, Defence and State Security], the President will be advised and then would he declare a State of Emergency, if the need arises, based on that assessment report.”

Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

While Mapisa-Nqakula strongly condemned the current looting and damage to infrastructure, she said she did not believe the situation warranted a State of Emergency declaration and insisted that the SANDF and SAPS would have a handle on things.

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Presh JM Reporter

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