President Ramaphosa calls for calm amid violence

Friday, 06 September 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to desist from fuelling tensions in the wake of violence that has gripped the country in the last two weeks.

“I am calling upon each one of us to desist from fuelling a climate of fear and confusion,” said the President.

President Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Thursday evening through a national broadcast on radio and television on matters of public and gender-based violence that have gripped the country.

Addressing the public violence, the President said the country has been deeply traumatised by acts of violence and criminality directed against foreign nationals and South African citizens.

“We know that at least 10 people have been killed in this violence, two of whom were a foreign nationals. No amount of anger and frustration and grievance can justify such acts of destruction and criminality.

“There can be no excuse for the attacks on the homes and businesses of foreign nationals, just as there can be no excuse for xenophobia or any other form of intolerance,” he said.

Equally, President Ramaphosa stressed that there is no justification for the looting and destruction of businesses owned by South Africans.

“The people from other countries on our continent stood with us in our struggle against apartheid.

“We worked together to destroy apartheid and overcome the divisions it created, where we feared each other and our differences were exploited,” he said.

The President called on South Africans to work to strengthen political, social and trade ties in an effort to develop the country’s economy and that of its neighbours.

He also called on communities with genuine grievances to address these through engagement and dialogue.

In the same breathe, the President warned that no stone would be left unturned in addressing criminal activity.

“But where people act with criminal intent, irrespective of their nationality, we will not hesitate to act to uphold the law and ensure order and stability,” he said.

The President commended law enforcement and security agencies for their swift action to restore stability in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

“The violence has largely subsided and police have increased reinforcements and visibility in priority areas to ensure the safety of all within South African borders.

“The criminal justice system is ready to deal with perpetrators of violence, looting and lawlessness,” said President Ramaphosa.

Since Sunday, 423 people have been arrested for violence-related offences in Gauteng and 21 suspects have been arrested in relation to truck violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

Fake news

With several fake videos, photographs and messages, swirling on social media amid the violence, President called on citizens to act responsibly.

“We must act responsibly and stop disseminating fake videos, photographs and messages, especially on social media, with an intention of negatively portraying our country and its people.

“This misinformation is also being disseminated in neighbouring countries and throughout the world, causing panic and putting lives in danger,” said the President.

Work together to end violence

Calling for calm, President Ramaphosa said this was time for all who live in the country to confront challenges directly and earnestly, not through violence, but through dialogue.

He called on all religious leaders and communities to lead the country in prayer and contemplation this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“In all churches, mosques, synagogues and temples, let us humble ourselves and bring healing to our nation. As a nation, we have endured moments of uncertainty before,” he said.

President Ramaphosa called on the nation to work together to end all violence including the violence against the women and children of the country.

“Let us build the South Africa we want, and which all our people so richly deserve,” he said.