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Speaker notes for Police Minister Gen Bheki Cele during JCPS Cluster Ministers briefing on public violence and criminality

JCPS Cluster Ministers condemn incidents of public violence and criminality 

Over the past two days the Ministers from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster met to discuss the reports they have received from the Joints Operations Committee (JOCOM) of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and State Security, which reflects on the incidents of violence and looting which took place in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provinces.

These reports have also presented to the Ministers, the critical intelligence information from the State Security Agency (SSA), South African Police Crime and Defence Intelligence. The intelligence information has provided timeous, critical and sometimes unique analysis information to give early warning signs of potential risks and dangers.

The law enforcement officers have used this intelligence information in responding with speed to the issues on the ground and attending to areas which have been identified as potential hotpot areas.

As Ministers we are satisfied with all the reports we have received and we are confident that our law enforcement agencies are able to do their job effectively.

In all our operations, we still have ther responsibility to save lives.

The current situation on the ground is under strong surveillance and we will ensure that it does not deteriorate any further. We cannot allow anyone to make a mockery of our democratic state and we have instructed the law enforcement agencies to double their efforts the stop the violence and to increase deployment on the ground.

As Ministers of this Custer we add our voices to that of our President and the many law abiding and peace-loving South Africans who have strongly condemned lawlessness, violence and destruction that is currently happening in certain areas of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as reported in the media. We call for an immediate end to this violence, looting and the disregard of the law and call for an immediate return to peace and stability.

As Cluster of Ministers, we are encouraged and heartened by the outpouring of messages also on Social Media platforms by South Africans from all communities and walks of life, who are saying that the wanton destruction of property such as shops, malls, taxis, trucks and other transport infrastructure will not be destroyed in their name. These messages of support echo the attitude of our country that this infrastructure is the lifeblood of our society and economy. Without these we cannot hope to grow our economy, ensure we all have food and fuel and can go about our daily lives toward the goal of prosperity for all.

South Africa is a democratic state that is governed by the Constitution. As the President stated in his address to the nation last night, 12 July 2021 “our Constitution guarantees the right of every person to protest, to organise, and to engage in free expression and free association.” However, this right of engaging in peaceful protest comes with responsibility of not infringement upon the rights of others who may not want to protest.

No amount of unhappiness or personal circumstances from our people, gives the right to anyone to loot, vandalise and do as they please and break the law. We call on the communities to exercise restraint in dealing with the situation and above all ensure that innocent civilians are not harmed.

We further urge all communities and groups to reject any call for violence and making this country ungovernable. We call upon anyone who has

reliable information to report any acts of violence and intimidation to the South African Police Service on its toll-free line 08600 10111.

We also welcome the announcement by th His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa on 12 July 2021, to authorise the deployment of the South African National Defence Force personnel in supplementing the capacity of the South African Police Service in protecting the infrastructure and other operations. We also welcome the recall from leave and rest days of the SAPS members to beef up the policing work on the ground.

Our latest reports indicate that a total of 757 people have been arrested. In KwaZulu- Natal  a total of 304 and in Gauteng 453 were arrested.  Of concern is the loss of lives that has accompanied the incidence of violence and destruction to property.

The total number of fatalities that has been reported is 10, with four in KZN and six in GP.

Furthermore, four police officers were injured while responding to these violent protests and are recovering well.

We further caution South Africans to note that the country is facing the COVID-19 pandemic and we are in the third wave which is fuelled by the Delta variant. Law enforcement agencies are also going to ensure the mass adherence to the adjusted alert Level 4 Lockdown Regulations, that has now been extended by another two weeks.

The greatest risk for the mass protests that have ensued in parts of the country is the rapid spread the pandemic, causing a rapid rise in infections and affecting our ability as government and a health system to respond to this.

Our health system is already under strain and current developments put the lives of more South Africans at risk, should infections rise.

Disaster Management Act enforcement operations will continue with heightened visibility to ensure that our communities:

 Observe the curfew that is in place from 9pm to 4am.

 Do not partake in any gatherings – whether indoors or outdoors.

 Wear a mask at ALL times when in public space.

 Adhere to social distancing and health protocols at all times particularly when attending a funeral with 50 mourners or less, which is the only gathering not prohibited during the Level 4 Lockdown.

South Africans are reminded that washing or sanitising or hands, still remains our best arsenal againts this virus.

Our communities are also reminded that:

 All social, political, religious and other gatherings remain prohibited.

 Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed.

 While you may still go to the beach and parks, there cannot be any gatherings in

those public spaces.

 The transportation and sale of alcohol both for on-site and off-site consumption is prohibited.

 There will be no travelling into and out of Gauteng during the adjusted Level 4 Lockdown, unless it is business related.

Anyone found contravening the Regulations will be processed accordingly in terms of the law.

We also issue a stern warning to those circulating inflammatory messages on various social media platforms which are aimed at inciting violence and disregard of the law.

The Cybersecurity Act states that any person who “unlawfully makes available, broadcasts or distributes, by means of a computer system, a data message to a specific person, group of persons or the general public with the intention to incite violence, or call people to be involved in the destruction of any property belonging to people, is guilty of an offence”.

Those who engage in such acts will be liable for criminal offence and can receive a fine or be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years.

As the Cluster we are monitoring all social media platforms and we are tracking those who are sharing false information and calling for civil disobedience.

We are engaging the different platforms to track and trace the origins of inflammatory posts and messages inciting violence and have requested that these be taken down with immediate effect.


While the intervetion of some communities to actively stop the mass lootings, has been commended, we encourage communities not to take the law into their own hands and continue to work with the police.

The involvement of other stakeholders is also critical in the fight against lawlessness and in this regard, we have already engaged the leadership of private security companies, in an effort to increase better working relations with the police.

As Ministers in the Cluster, we have the responsibility to assert the authority of the State and to safeguard our territorial integrity and sovereignty of the republic.

In conclusion, we reiterate the words of President Ramaphosa last night when he said “We are building up, not shutting down. We will not be deterred, as South Africans, from the task ahead.

If these acts of violence continue unabated, we run the risk of running out of basic food stuffs and that would be disastrous for the country.

We remind all South Africans to Mask Up; Wash Up and Keep Your Distance as we sustain our fight against this pandemic.

And finally, register and vaccinate to save South Africa.

We thank you.