President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation on Monday following violent scenes in provinces across the country, acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has confirmed.
TimesLIVE reported earlier that cabinet took a decision to deploy members of the military in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in the wake of the protests against the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma.
The widespread protests, which have degenerated into looting and torching of shops and trucks, has attracted the attention of the cabinet.
The address later on Monday comes a day after Ramaphosa announced the country would remain on adjusted lockdown level 4. The time of Monday’s address has not yet been confirmed.
The president is on record calling for calm and warning criminal elements that they will face the full might of law as lawlessness is brought to an end and economic activity is allowed to continue.
“The majority of South Africans do not and should not tolerate violence, the destruction of property and the endangering of livelihoods. People are urged to report criminals by sharing videos of criminal activity with the police.
“People are also asked to pay attention to what they post on social media and to be aware that the sharing of fake news or content that incites violence and looting is a crime.
“It is also a crime to possess, receive and use stolen goods, or to interfere with the police in their execution of their duties,” the presidency said.
In his address on Sunday, Ramaphosa condemned the ongoing violence: “In the past few days we have seen sporadic but increasingly violent protests in some parts of the country. Key infrastructure like national roads have been affected, slowing down the transportation of goods and services that keep our economy running.
“Property has been destroyed. Cars have been stoned. People have been intimidated and threatened, and some have even been hurt. These acts are endangering lives and damaging our efforts to rebuild the economy.
“Our constitution guarantees everyone’s right to freely express themselves and to engage in peaceful protest. While there are those who may be hurt and angry at this moment, there can never be any justification for such violent, destructive and disruptive actions.”
Ramaphosa said he was particularly worried that some of the violence was “based on ethnic mobilisation”.
“Our commitment to our democratic constitution is based on the fundamental principle that all people are equal before the law, and that all people have the right to equal protection before the law. The rule of law safeguards against the abuse of power. The rule of law protects the poor and the vulnerable.
“Since the advent of democracy, institutions like the Constitutional Court have been at the forefront of improving the lives of South Africans.
“Let us be clear, as a nation, that we will not tolerate acts of criminality. Those who are involved in acts of violence will be arrested and prosecuted. Those found guilty of breaking the lockdown regulations will receive the stipulated penalty. This will be done without fear or favour,” Ramaphosa said.