Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa, MPL
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
As scenes of anarchy spread throughout South Africa, I am pleased with the announcement that the SANDF will be deployed to assist the overpowered and overstretched South African Police Service in areas of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
In light of the dramatic escalation in unrest and violence over the past 48 hours, we are happy that Government has finally taken heed of our call to deploy the army. At the weekend, our President Emeritus made this call, echoed by myself, and the leadership of the IFP.
It is our belief that at this point – as widespread looting and chaos have brought us to a point of national crisis – without the army, it is clear that South Africa will slide into a war zone-like situation.
Furthermore, let me state that at this stage of crisis, the leadership of the country has not done enough to arrest the situation. We have not heard from the Minister of Police, the Minister of Defence or the Minister of State Security, as to what their plan is to restore law and order.
As our country burns, we call on our Government to step up and provide leadership to end the treasonous economic sabotage that is now being allowed to spread to every community. Moreover, we believe that it is time for President Ramaphosa to convene a meeting with all party leaders, so that together, we can chart a way forward out of this crisis.
Finally, it is my call to the public and to other political parties to allow the SANDF to do their work. Without delay.
Although we acknowledge that having soldiers deployed among our civilian population is always a last resort, the current circumstances have now forced Government’s hand. We further appeal to the SANDF to respect and abide by the rights in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. Soldiers need to adopt a human-rights-based approach, and refrain from unnecessary force or violence as they carry out their duties.
As the IFP, we respect the right of all South Africans to protest – but this needs to be done in a peaceful manner, without causing harm to others, or damage to infrastructure. No matter what the circumstances, violence is never the solution.
Let us unite to rebuild. Let us unite to bring back stability to our beloved country. Let us unite to end the anarchy that threatens lives and livelihoods.
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