Ramaphosa confirms that death toll in violent protests rises to at least 10
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night gave the names of 10 people known to have died in violent riots in KZN and Gauteng since Friday
The death toll from recent days of civil unrest has risen to at least 10, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday night.
Earlier in the day, police said that six had died in the violence, which started in KwaZulu-Natal and has since spread to Gauteng.
As he addressed the nation in response to scenes of violence playing out in the country, Ramaphosa named those who had died.
“At this hour, there are several families in our country that are in mourning. I speak of the families of Nkosikhona Chiza, Ndumiso Shezi, Khaya Mkhize, Zethembe Ndwandwe, Lindani Bhengu and Lindokuhle Gumede in Gauteng. I speak of the families of Bhekani Ndlovu, Themba Mthembu, Aphiwe Gama and Cebo Dlamini in KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.
Ramaphosa denounced the events of recent days.
“I address you this evening with a heavy heart. Over the past few days and nights, there have been acts of public violence of a kind rarely seen in the history of our democracy. Property has been vandalised and destroyed. Shops have been looted. Law-abiding citizens have been threatened and intimidated. Workers are scared that they may not be able to return to work. People have died.
“Even as we know the high cost of this violence to property, to livelihoods and to businesses, the loss of human life is the greatest cost of all. As a nation our thoughts and prayers are with these families.
“Many South Africans are at this hour counting the cost to their livelihoods and property, to their shops and businesses, to their safety and security. Many more South Africans are feeling anxious and afraid,” he said.
Ramaphosa noted that parts of the country were reeling from several days and nights of public violence, destruction of property and looting of the sort rarely seen before in the history of SA's democracy.
“It started with the burning of trucks at Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal this past Saturday and was followed by blockades of roads in the northern parts of the province and the looting of shops in eThekwini and Pietermaritzburg. For the past two days, Gauteng has experienced the blocking of roads, looting, damage to property and burning of trucks,” he said.
He said 166 suspects had been arrested in KZN and 323 suspects in Gauteng.
“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. However, what we are witnessing now are opportunistic acts of criminality, with groups of people instigating chaos merely as a cover for looting and theft,” said Ramaphosa.