The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, assured this Friday that the wave of clashes and looting that took place in the last week, which left 212 dead and resulted in the arrest of 2,524 people, was an “attempted insurrection” that had not had success.
“It failed to gain popular support. It failed because of the efforts of our security forces and failed because the South Africans stood up to defend our hard-won democracy,” the head of government said in a message addressed to the nation.
Ramaphosa, however, admitted that the state was “poorly prepared” to face a campaign, which he called orchestrated, of public violence, vandalism and sabotage.
For the president, “it is now clear that last week’s events were a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack” on South Africa’s democracy.
“Using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts sought to provoke a popular uprising. They sought to exploit the economic and social conditions experienced by South Africans, to provoke ordinary citizens and criminal networks to get involved in acts of opportunistic vandalism,” he said.
“The chaos that followed was used as a smokescreen to provoke economic sabotage,” added Ramaphosa, in the message to the population.
Ramaphosa lamented the damage that would have been “millionaires” in the country, and said that a project for aid funds is being prepared for this reason, in addition to forecasting an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the South African territory in the coming weeks. .
“We will find those who instigated this violence. They will be held accountable for their actions. We will not allow anything to destabilize our country,” added the head of government.
In addition, the president urged that this Sunday, when Nelson Mandela’s Day is celebrated (for the birthday of the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize), people bring food to the needy and help clean up the streets.
Last week, what began as protests against the arrest of controversial former President Jacob Zuma (2009-2018) turned into a wave of indiscriminate looting and vandalism of a magnitude that Ramaphosa compared to the convulsive transition that South Africa has experienced. in the early 1990s, after the end of the apartheid segregationist system.
The most serious incidents were concentrated in two regions: the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the political and economic heart of the most developed nation in Africa, the province of Gauteng (where the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria are located).