Parliament calls for 'coherence' after Mapisa-Nqakula contradicts Ramaphosa on 'insurrection'

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Members of the South African National Defence Force patrol the streets on July 15, 2021 in Alexandra.
Members of the South African National Defence Force patrol the streets on July 15, 2021 in Alexandra.
(Photo by Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Im
  • Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula contradicted President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying last week's violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng wasn't a insurrection.
  • The Joint Standing Committee on Defence called for "coherence" from government.
  • The committee welcomed the deployment of the SANDF.

The Joint Standing Committee on Defence has called for "coherence in characterising what led to the violence, wanton looting and destruction of property over the past week", after the Defence and Military Veterans minister contradicted the president.

On Friday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa described the unrest that played out in in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as a "failed insurrection".  

"It is clear now that the events of the past week were nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy," Ramaphosa said in his national address.

"Using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts have sought to provoke a popular insurrection."

However, when Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula briefed the Joint Standing Committee on Defence on Sunday evening, she said it wasn't an insurrection.

#UnrestSA: Was it an attempted insurrection or coup? 'None of those' - Mapisa-Nqakula

"The issue is, if it is an insurrection, then the insurrection must have a face. If it is an insurrection against government. If it is about a coup, the coup will also have a face... but none of those so far talk to that," Mapisa-Nqakula said during the virtual meeting, News24 reported. 

On Monday, committee chairpersons Cyril Xaba and Mamagase Nchabeleng released a statement, saying the committee believes that the intelligence community must play a critical role in understanding and characterising the disturbance.

"The characterisation of the violence will assist in planning and counteracting similar future disturbances. The reality is that the SANDF is projecting spending about R615 million on this project and it is critical that there is clarity and coherence on what this budget is spent on now and what resources are necessary to prevent any future flare-up," said Xaba.

The committee welcomed that as of Sunday, 21 525 SANDF members were deployed as part of Operation Prosper. 

WATCH | Ramaphosa says govt was poorly prepared for 'failed insurrection'

"Since the deployment of the SANDF, we have seen laudable calm and stability, which gives us assurances that our security is in good hands. We appreciate the augmentation of the deployed soldiers and are reassured that there will be no similar flare-up," said Nchabeleng.

The committee said it should be considered to designate the N3 highway and other major arteries as critical infrastructure to protect it better.

"We appreciate the information that there is increased deployment and patrol on the N3 to counter any disturbance. This is critical to the functioning of the economy, especially as the country rebuilds from the devastation caused by Covid-19," said Xaba.

The committee will visit KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng on Tuesday and Wednesday to assess the rollout of Operation Prosper and the impact it is having on the ground.  

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