“The African Christian Democratic Party is very disappointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech last night and we believe that he was too lean on details of exactly how law and order will be restored in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal after days of violence and looting in some areas of the two provinces. As a law-abiding South African, I am as devastated, disappointed and heartbroken by what we have seen on television and social media. The amount of looting, violence and destruction of property over the last few days is unparalleled. We have not seen anything of this magnitude since the dawn of our new democracy. Because of this destruction of property and looting, many people will suffer from hunger over the next few days and weeks as businesses, malls and stalls, that have been looted and burned, will not have anything left to sell and offer to our people. It was disappointing to see that this morning, after the President deployed the army last night, the looting and violence continue in Alexandra, Soweto, and at Chris Hani Mall near Vosloorus. Where are the police? Where are the soldiers that the president deployed last night? Where specifically have they been deployed to? The ACDP demands that violence and looting be stopped and that all the instigators of violence and criminal activity be brought to book. We want to know where the full might of the law in which the president spoke of last night. We are seeing that violence is escalating and that there are no consequences for these vile acts. The President must stop making empty threats and start acting decisively against lawlessness and violence. I concur with the president that we should all do our best to ensure that there is safety in our communities. As a result of what happened, not only has our economy suffered, but also those in need of medical attention, in the midst of a health pandemic, who could not receive care and attention due to unofficial roadblocks and intimidation to health service workers like EMS. I would have liked to hear more detail from the president on law enforcement matters and what specific steps were to be taken to bring the violence to an end.
It is easy for the president to say that we must work together to restore peace and the rule of law. The ACDP supports this, but in our opinion, he failed to give enough detail on how the government, which is ultimately responsible for maintaining law and order in our communities, is going to do it. My biggest question is: Why was our government caught unprepared to respond? There has been a fair amount of information in circulation on social media in the form of videos and voice notes where some people said that they are going to destabilize the country. When trucks were burned at Mooi River plaza on the N3, in Kwazulu-Natal (KZN), the organisers clearly stated that after KZN they will be going to Gauteng. One would have expected that police and the government in Gauteng would be ready – but again, it seems that the government was not ready. I want to know where was our Intelligence Coordinating Committee? Where was our National Security Council? Where are our Intelligence Officers? These people are being paid and there is a budget to ensure that our intelligence is up to scratch – yet our intelligence seems to be failing us.
The ACDP, among other things, calls on the nation to pray for our country this coming Sunday. What is happening in South Africa is heart-breaking and totally unacceptable! We want specifics from the president, not generalities. We all know that nobody should take the law into their own hands, but what happens when the confrontation between those who want to destroy and loot, and those who stand to protect their property and families, escalate? Will government find those acting in self-defence guilty if there is a loss of life? This is why we want specifics – not generalities.”