Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says they initially hadn’t planned on moving to protect the malls that were targeted in the ongoing riots, as they figured private security companies would guard the properties, given that they have been contracted to do so.
Mapisa-Nqakula appeared virtually before Parliament’s Joint Committee on Defence on Wednesday evening, 14 July 2021, where she addressed the security situation and responded to the criticism that the security cluster has received, on how they have handled the chaos that has rocked KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“Something which we had not anticipated, our soldiers were not at the malls chair and I’m not defending them…,” the minister told the committee’s chairperson Cyril Xaba.
Mapisa-Nqakula on SANDF deployment
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula did however stress that troops have since been deployed to malls and said she would also be leaving for KZN to monitor the situation.
“It never occurred to us that we should move to areas such as malls, particularly because in malls, anywhere, there is always a contract between business itself and private security companies”
“If you go to the malls, at every mall you will find the private security companies. However, now what we have learnt from here is that it’s important for the police to keep regular contact with the private security companies who are deployed at malls. They are the ones who get information about the first action which happens there, so that they then link up with the police”
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
Mapisa-Nqakula said it was only since Tuesday, that members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) have been interacting with the security companies who are at the malls.
“It was a learning curve and we were nearly caught with our … I don’t want to say pants down. But that’s the reality, I think that’s what happened,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.
The minister announced that 25 000 soldiers would be deployed to both Gauteng and KZN. There were initially 2 500 troops deployed, but acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni earlier confirmed that there were now 5 000 soldiers on the ground to quell the chaos.