South Africans ‘Refused To Be Mobilized’ For Ethnic Violence, Says Ramaphosa As 489 Rioters Arrested
South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has announced the arrest of about 489 persons suspected to have been involved in the violence and destruction of lives and property across the country.
He made this known in a press statement on Monday while describing the break down of law and order as one of the worst-case scenarios in the country’s democracy.
He however said attempts to mobilize the people along ethnic lines had failed, while admitting that poverty and unemployment fueled the riots.
“People have died. At this hour, there are several families in our country that are in mourning.
“Parts of the country are reeling from several days and nights of public violence, destruction of property and looting of the sort rarely seen before in the history of our democracy.
“Thanks to the work of our law enforcement agencies, 166 suspects have been arrested in KwaZulu-Natal and 323 suspects had been arrested in Gauteng in relation to these incidents,” he said.
Ramaphosa also said that there were political and ethnic undertones to the said demonstrations and violence but he urged citizens to remain calm.
“Some have characterized these actions as a form of political protest.
“This violence may indeed have its roots in the pronouncements and activities of individuals with a political purpose, and in expressions of frustration and anger.
“At the beginning of this unrest, there may have been some people who sought to agitate for violence and disorder along ethnic lines;we know that the majority of our people have out of principle refused to be mobilised along these lines,” he added.
His comments came after supporters of former South African president Jacob Zuma, were said to have demanded his immediate release from prison.
AFP reports that these demonstrators were “protesting his imprisonment, burning trucks, commercial property.”
THE WHISTLER reported that the country’s constitutional court had on June 29, sentenced Zuma to 15 months in jail having found him guilty of contempt of court.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has ordered the deployment of the military across hot spots in the country.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the South African Defence Force, I have today authorised the deployment of Defence Force personnel in support of the operations of the South African Police Service,” he said.