- Cyril Ramaphosa visited malls affected by the civil unrest in Soweto.
- He told community members the unrest and violence had not been caused by tribalism.
- Ramaphosa had previously said ethnic mobilisation was behind the unrest.
President Cyril Ramaphosa changed his tune that the ongoing civil unrest was caused by ethnic mobilisation.
Community members, who have been defending Maponya Mall in Soweto, were addressed by Ramaphosa on Sunday.
When the president spoke to the nation seven days ago, after the unrest erupted, he attributed parts of it to ethnic mobilisation. Pro-Zuma supporters in KwaZulu-Natal had taken to the streets to demand the former president be released from prison.
Zuma had been sentenced to 15 months in prison for being in contempt of a Constitutional Court order that he appear before the Zondo Commission.
When this thing started, there was a tinge of tribalism and this isn’t such [anymore]. I must make it clear that there is no ethnicity in this [now], that our people as represented through the taxi association, our Zulu speaking compatriots, we are all united against what is happening. So this notion that it is ethnic is out of the window.
Ramaphosa started his visit at Ndofaya Mall in Meadowlands before moving to Jabulani Mall in Central Western Jabavu for a walkabout.
He finished the visit at Maponya Mall in Pimville, where he spoke to Nhlanhla Lux Dlamini, the community member leading the guarding of the mall.
“We were infiltrated. There were people that came in, this invisible enemy that we are fighting and must continue to defeat. I can say we are going to defeat them because they are not equal to the strength that we have in relation to young people like you, our government, our security forces and the people of Soweto and the people of South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
On this #MandelaDay, we join all South Africans who have been engaged in cleanup and rebuilding activities in Gauteng and KZN following the devastation caused by the public violence and looting that took place. We say thank you for defending our democracy. #CleanUpSA #RebuildSA pic.twitter.com/nBzEyZLNlY
— Cyril Ramaphosa ???? #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) July 18, 2021
The president vowed that those behind what he previously called “a failed insurrection” would be brought to book.
“The people who organised this, who coordinated this, were so well organised. They came with angle grinders, they came with guns, they came with all manner of things. They were essentially trying to attack our democracy and to rubbish our Constitution. We must never allow them, never allow anyone to destroy our democracy,” he said.
To date, because of the unrest, more than 1 000 people have been arrested and over 200 killed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.