#UnrestSA: Not in country's interest to reveal what intelligence it had - Ntshavheni

Looters carry goods from the Game Warehouse in Durban.
Looters carry goods from the Game Warehouse in Durban.
  • It is not in the country's interest to reveal what intelligence it had before the unrest's outbreak, says acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.
  • This week, two ministers gave differing accounts on whether the SSA presented the police with intelligence.
  • The unrest's death toll is now 337.

While the air has still not been cleared on whether the police had received prior intelligence of the deadly unrest, acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said it was not in the country's best interest to disclose what intelligence it had before the upheaval's outbreak.

Earlier this week, Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo contradicted each other on whether the State Security Agency (SSA) provided the police with an intelligence report on the unrest.

Cele rejected Dlodlo's earlier claims that the SSA gave intelligence reports on the unrest to the police.

READ | Unrest: About 150 000 jobs at risk, govt says

Addressing a meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence and the Portfolio Committee on Police during their oversight visit to Chatsworth, Durban on Tuesday, Cele told MPs he did not sign for any intelligence report from the SSA.

"It is you, the minister, who would have given the product to me. The minister of SSA could not give the product direct to the other DG. It would have come to me, and I would have given it to the national commissioner. I want to repeat here that I have never seen that product," he said.

Dlodlo told News24 on Tuesday that intelligence products were always shared with relevant structures, not people.

She said:

Intelligence is shared with the police and other structures all the time.

On Thursday, global human rights watchdog Amnesty International called on government to reveal what it knew before the unrest broke out.

"With the number of people who died during the looting and violent unrest known to be 276 [on Wednesday], South African authorities must reveal what they knew and when, in the days leading to the violence, which unnecessarily cost people's lives," said Shenilla Mohamed, executive director of Amnesty International South Africa in a statement.

She also referenced the discrepancy between Cele and Dlodlo's remarks.

GRAPHIC | #UnrestSA: Counting the cost of rioting and looting

"These contradictions by the different ministers show a government in chaos, unable to coordinate security to protect the people. People deserve to know the truth about what happened, and the government has a duty to be honest and ensure prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into the unrest and violence, and ensure accountability," Mohamed said.

"The government, and the security cluster ministers, need to stop playing the blame game and take full responsibility for these inefficiencies."

At Thursday's daily government briefing, Ntshavheni was asked about this.

"I think Amnesty International is going beyond their own scope of work," Ntshavheni said.

READ | #UnrestSA: King Misuzulu slams looting

She said government was reporting the number of deaths, murder cases and inquest probes.

"So a full investigation is going to be held to ensure that those who are accountable are held liable," she said.

"It's not in the best interest of this country to disclose the intelligence information that was at the disposal of the state.

"And Amnesty International must be satisfied by the fact that everybody who has died, or every damage that has been caused in this country will be fully accounted for and those who have murdered people will be apprehended and brought before the law so that they can face the consequences of their actions, whether by planning the unrest, or by killing people during the unrest."

Death toll rises

Meanwhile, the death toll had risen from Wednesday's 276 to 337, with 79 deaths in Gauteng and 258 in KwaZulu-Natal.

The death toll is revised when those who were injured dies.

In Gauteng, 42 cases of murder were opened and 171 in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ntshavheni confirmed that corruption-accused former president Jacob Zuma was back behind bars after he was allowed to attend his brother's funeral earlier on Thursday.

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