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Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni: Update on interventions to rebuild the economy

21 Jul 2021

Fellow South Africans and members of the media

Security situation

Stability continues to reign in both Provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and law enforcement agencies are conducting mop-up operations to ensure opportunistic and copycat activities do not find traction.

Arrests of instigators

In addition, to the arrests of persons linked to the public violence and their appearances in various courts, law enforcement agencies continue to arrest persons linked to the incitement of public violence. To date, the following suspects have been arrested and appeared in court:

  • Bruce Nimmerhoudt,
  • Sibusiso Mavuso,
  • Clarence Tabane, and
  • Ngizwe Mchunu,


The four suspects have been remanded in custody in Gauteng for bail application and the National Prosecution Authority will comment further on the details of the prosecution. One person who was arrested was released by the court and the SAPS are undertaking further investigations.

Investigations on the deaths

Since the unrests, a total of 234 deaths as a related to the unrests were reported in KZN. To date and of these reported deaths, the SAPS are investigating 151 cases for murder and 83 inquests dockets have been opened and 15 arrests related to the cases of murder.

A total of 42 deaths as a related to the unrests were reported in GP. To date and of these reported deaths, the SAPS are investigating 17 cases for murder and 25 inquests dockets have been opened and no arrests have been made as yet related to the cases of murder.

Measures to ensure food security in South Africa and the SADC region

Since the unrests of the last two (2) weeks, concerns have also been raised about food security in the SADC region as a number of our neighboring countries also rely on the South African ports for their imports of food and critical supplies.  

We want to reassure the region of SADC that law enforcement agencies have posted extra security personnel along the major routes to ensure the secure passage of the long-haul logistics trucks and the rail network.  We were informed by the South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL) that over nine thousand trucks were moving on the N3 per day without any incidents against logistic trucks.

In addition, we have reported on the full operation of the two (2) ports of Durban and Richards Bay – and the other ports were never affects by the unrests. All activities at the port of Durban, specifically agricultural ones, have normalized and were in entire operation since the start of this week. The only delays at the ports are due to the backlogs that were caused by the closure during the period of the unrests.

Furthermore, our border posts are also working around the clock to process the logistics trucks so that they reach their destination safely and on time.

Regarding additional measures which we put in place to address the concerns of food security in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, Government has engaged food processors and suppliers, farmers, and Agri-businesses to ensure the stability of the food supply chain.  Importantly, government and social partners secured the logistics centres where communities can easily access food. As I speak today, the security of food supplies has been normalized mainly across the affected provinces:

  • All the shopping malls, supermarkets and spaza shops that have not been affected by unrests were operational since Saturday 17th of July 2021.
  • Bakeries have also been operational and bread which was in short supply in KZN has been on the shelves since the weekend.
  • Milk supplies are now available, and depots have been collecting from farmers.
  • Sugar Mills has been operational since Saturday 17th of July 2021, and the farmers have been able to move their cane to the Mills.
  • In KZN, where damage to retail infrastructure is most severe, municipalities have been working together with their business communities to ensure that food availability is maintained. Where necessary, municipalities have made their facilities part of the value chain.
  • Other shop owners in certain rural towns have converted additional facilities to ensure that these are made grocery shops to address the food availability.


Concerns on the possible resurgence of attacks on foreign truck drivers

Government has continued to engage the major role players in the logistics and transportation sector to find a lasting solution to the problems raised by the stakeholders. Our law enforcement agencies are also investigating the possible mobilization of South Africans to attack the foreign truck drivers and a special team of detectives are investigating the threats against foreign truck drivers. It must be clarified that this problem is not emanating from the unrests, but it is related to challenges within the sector. The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Immigration and Employment will soon table their recommendations to Cabinet for a decision.

Affected SASSA offices and post offices for the payment of social grants

After the violence and looting, 20 SASSA local offices and 21 Post Offices in KZN and were vandalized and burnt down. These offices are not offering social services and beneficiaries have been advised to use ATM and shops to access their social grants.  Furthermore, SASSA grants that were earmarked to be paid on 20 July have been postponed to a later date. In Gauteng, one SASSA offices located in Alexandra was burnt down and beneficiaries have been referred to alternative sites.

This is of great concern to us as government because this will have great impact on the vulnerable who will not be able to access social support from SASSA.

Education and health

As announced by the President, the schools are scheduled to re-open on 26 July and the Department of Basic Education is proceeding with plans for the reopening of schools.  To date there were 143 schools which were vandalized and looted during the unrests.  139 of these schools are in KwaZulu-Natal and 4 are in Gauteng.  Equipment and food meant for the school nutrition programme was stolen, which means that these schools are unable to provide the school nutrition programme to the vulnerable learners.  The Minister of Basic Education will brief the nation on the prepared for the re-opening of schools on Sunday, 25th July 2021.

The Department of Health is finalizing the assessment report on the extent of impact of the recent violent protests in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal on the vaccination rollout programme and general access to health services. Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi will present a comprehensive update on Friday during their weekly health updates.

Meeting between President and Business Leaders

On 20 July 2021, President Ramaphosa convened a meeting of over 100 business leaders to discuss the current security crisis and assess the impact on business infrastructure and operations across the various economic sectors. The meeting discussed areas where government and business could work together to rebuild the country in the aftermath of the crisis.

The President was joined by the Premiers of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, and several Ministers of the Economic Cluster. The business sector was represented by organised business including those representing informal businesses and SMMES, and CEOs from various sectors of business. In the meeting, Business leaders and government committed to rebuilding the country and ensuring that poverty and inequality are addressed speedily. Business leaders and government committed to assist small businesses that were already negatively affected by the downturn in the economy as a result of the pandemic.

Business leaders said that in their engagements with their international counterparts, they would communicate a message that South Africa was rising to rebuild and do business with the rest of the world.

President Ramaphosa called for a partnership with a shared national purpose among all role players now and in the years ahead. The meeting agreed on the need to rebuild an economy that is far more resilient, sustainable, dynamic, and inclusive.

In conclusion

We want to reassure all South Africans, the SADC region and the international community in general that the situation in our country is now stable and economic activities have returned to normal. We want to thank the SADC community and the international community in general for supporting South Africa through this difficult time.  

I thank you.

 

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