- Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said there was no insurrection, contradicting statements made by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
- Government has since clarified that Mapisa-Nqakula's comments were not supported by the facts.
- However, government failed to answer questions about whether she would be called to clarify here statements, and if action would be taken against her.
The facts do not support Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula's comments that there was no insurrection.
This, according to acting minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni who said President Cyril Ramaphosa had already articulated the views of government on the insurrection.
Ntshavheni was briefing media on Monday afternoon, giving an update on the unrest that rocked the country last week.
During his address to the nation on Friday evening, Ramaphosa said the unrest was a failed insurrection.
Ramaphosa used the word insurrection three times during a strongly worded address:
- "The current instability and ongoing incitement to violence constitutes a direct contravention of the Constitution and the rule of law. These actions are intended to cripple the economy, cause social instability and severely weaken – or even dislodge – the democratic state. Using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts have sought to provoke a popular insurrection."
- "Yet, despite the widespread destruction, this attempted insurrection has failed to gain popular support."
- "If we stand together, no insurrection or violence in this country will succeed."
The President also said the unrest was nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on the country's democracy and that the constitutional order of the country was under threat.
The police ministry also spoke of a failed insurrection in its messaging on the unrest that lasted for over a week, and which saw the widespread destruction of property and looting in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
On Sunday, Mapisa-Nqakula openly rubbished statements made by Ramaphosa while addressing the joint standing committee on defence meeting regarding the situation in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, News24 reported.
"General [Bantu] Holomisa asked a question on what it is that we are dealing with - whether it is conventional, is it an insurgence? Chairperson, our view, to be honest, is that it is none of those. We have also had people making a reference to an insurrection or coup," Mapisa-Nqakula said.
"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," said Mapisa-Nqakula.
Ntshavheni said they did not know where this contrary view came from, but that the facts did not support it.
"We want to clarify that the position of government is that as articulated by the President of an attempt at insurrection in the country. And that perspective is informed by discussions at the national security council, which is chaired by the President, and he receives briefing from the military commanders and also the other law enforcement agencies," Ntshavheni said.
"And to that effect, any contrary view, we do not know where it comes from, it is not the view that is supported by any facts by our law enforcement agencies including the military."
However, Ntshavheni dodged a question by News24 asking whether the President had approached Mapisa-Nqakula to clarify why she made the remarks and whether action will be taken against her for lying.