HON. VELENKOSINI HLABISA, MPL
PRESIDENT OF THE IFP
The IFP notes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation, outlining Government’s response to the widespread violence, looting and destruction of property across KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and other parts of the country.
We welcome the address by the President. However, we believe that had Government acted sooner, our country would not have suffered such widespread devastation, economic losses and severe destruction of property, as well as the tragic deaths of over 200 South Africans.
The President admitted that government was slow to act and that our security forces and law enforcement agencies were poorly prepared, under-capacitated and were found wanting. We welcome his frank admission.
We hope that this will serve as a lesson for government’s Justice, Safety and Security Cluster. Members of the SANDF should have been deployed within 48 hours after the chaos and mayhem started to unfold on our streets.
We further noted President Ramaphosa’s visit to Durban today. KwaZulu-Natal is a vast province, which has suffered untold devastation. We feel he should have visited more than just eThekwini, to get a better understanding of what is happening on the ground.
We further appreciate his pledge to protect businesses and infrastructure. However, the President should not lose sight that communities are vulnerable and also need protection.
The IFP welcomes the President’s acknowledgement of the severe food crisis currently being experienced by residents in KZN, especially those who reside in rural areas such as Ulundi. The President’s willingness to step in and assist, is welcomed.
While the undertaking was made that SASSA will provide food parcels, we are concerned that these foods parcels may end up in the wrong hands, or be stolen, as happened during Lockdown.
The mismanagement of food relief must not be repeated.
We echo the President’s plea to all South Africans to desist from posting, sharing and spreading fake news and messages that encourage looting on social media platforms.
It is imperative that government takes swift action to restore law and order. Anyone identified as having incited violence, found looting or instigating any form of treason against the State must be arrested. Government, law enforcement and the Judiciary must further ensure that arrests are followed by swift prosecution.
We again thank our President Emeritus and Founder of the IFP – Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi – for displaying servant leadership throughout this national crisis. He continues to be proactive in assisting communities on the ground. He was the first leader to speak up and call for additional assistance, by requesting the President to deploy the SANDF. He also assisted in person, by lending a hand at community and police check-points in Ulundi this week.
We further thank the rank-and-file of the IFP and the IFP leadership, who continue to play a vital role in restoring stability in KwaZulu-Natal.
We reiterate our call for all South Africans to assist wherever they can – in their neighbourhoods, community policing fora, by volunteering to clean up and by ensuring that the elderly and those in distress, receive help.
The IFP thanks all those who have put in long, punishing hours to assist in restoring calm and who have volunteered to clean up and get our country and economy back on track.
Together we can and will rise again.
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