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Premier Sihle Zikalala: Briefing by Minister of Police Bheki Cele held at the Inanda Police Station

3 Aug 2021

Remarks by Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala during the briefing by Minister of Police Bheki Cele held at the Inanda Police Station on 03 August 2021

Hon. Minister of Police General Bheki Cele;
Deputy National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Masemola;
National Head of Crime Intelligence Lieutenant-General Mathakatha;|
KZN Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Mkhwanazi;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good Morning!

Introduction

We would like to thank the Minister of Police General Cele for your presence and for giving us this opportunity to address the media this morning.

The detailed report you have provided from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster and particularly the SAPS, paints a picture of a government that is seized with the safety and security of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.  

We wish to express our appreciation to the Minister for giving this matter your untiring attention.

We are certain that you and your men and women in blue, will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of these murders and related crimes, which have taken place in this province in this regard.   

As Provincial Government we are clear that the majority of the people of KwaZulu-Natal are not looters. By the same token, we are clear that the majority of the people of KZN are not criminals.

Crimes are committed by a small group of people in our communities, across all races, classes and religion.

It is therefore the duty of the law-abiding citizen to isolate the criminals and to ensure that they are brought to book. It is the duty of all sectors to create a society in which law and order are maintained, and where the values of a civilised society are upheld by all citizens.

In the aftermath of the recent unrest and looting, as provincial government we have through the MEC for Community Safety and Liaison, supported the implementation of law enforcement by SAPS. This was to deal with all the crimes committed during this sad episode in our province. Those who have broken the law whether they were vigilantes or looters, should all face the full might of the law.

As the Minister indicated in his remarks, in Phoenix, Inanda, Bhambayi, Zwelitsha, KwaMashu, Amaoti and surrounding areas we have seen the worst of these crimes, including murder, being committed in the name of protecting the community.

We saw similar incidents of the murder of innocent people in Chatsworth and Northdale.

We have heard accounts of men and women who were dragged from their vehicles while driving through the highways. Some died from assault, gunshot wounds and being burnt to death.

We send our condolences to their families for these losses.

In the midst of that despair, we are encouraged that in Phoenix, Chatsworth, Verulam, Northdale and many areas, good citizenship thrives. We have seen groups of social activists in the Indian community joining with Africans in the All Lives Matter movement to call for an end to racism in all its forms.

Indeed All Lives Matter!

We have seen the ABC Forum represented by Pastor Justin Naidoo, which is a group of churches based in Phoenix, pulling their resources to give a car to Zandile Mthembu. Zandile’s car was torched by people manning a roadblock during the unrest.       

The social solidarity demonstrated by the community of Phoenix in pursuit of peace and unity, among all people across different races, must be applauded.

The Provincial Departments of Community Safety and Liaison and Social Development led by MEC Nkonyeni and MEC Khoza respectively, have been providing immediate support in the form of psychosocial support, social relief and food parcels to families in distress. These are families residing in Inanda, Zwelisha, Amawoti, Bhambayi and Phoenix who lost their loved ones. A team of Social Workers will continue to help the affected families to come to terms with their ordeal.

We sincerely appreciate the extensive social and economic relief package announced by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa that will support poor households and provide assistance to affected businesses and employees.

Our Apex Priority Is To Restore Peace and Stability In Our Province 

The increased visibility of security personnel from the SAPS and SANDF on the ground has added to the stability and allowed the economy to move.

Our second priority has been to provide relief and to start the process of rebuilding with immediate but lasting effect.

We are still assessing the impact of the civil unrest and are compiling our comprehensive report to the National Disaster Management Centre. This will support Provincial Government’s declaration of the Provincial State of Disaster in accordance with Section 23 (1) (b) of the Disaster Management Act.

  • The current estimated cost of damages and relief required for the sector departments is R2 Billion whereas the municipal damages require R74 Million. 
  • The interim financial implications for the organs of state is R2,1 Billion.

These figures are not final and are expected to grow. We can confirm that with the work done so far, the situation is beyond the provincial and municipal capacity to deal with the cost of public riots and unrest as reported;

We have therefore recommended to submit for classification to the national disaster management centre in terms of section 23(1)(b) of the Disaster Management Act.

The declaration of a provincial state of disaster will support the reprioritization of budgets to implement the repairs and recovery programmes.

The Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Approach

It was down the road in KwaMashu where in 2017 Former Premier Willies Mchunu hosted the Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration summit. We have since formed the Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Council which includes prominent members of society including Deputy Chairperson of the Moral Regeneration and Social Cohesion Council Bishop Ruben Phillip and Social Cohesion Advocates.

The key objective of Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration is to develop a comprehensive provincial  strategy to address inter alia:

  • Feelings of marginalisation and exclusion, based on race, from participating and benefiting from social and economic opportunities in the Province;
  • Perceptions that foreign and other African nationals are benefiting more than local citizens. And dealing with violence directed towards foreign nationals based on such perceptions;
  • Declining morals which aggravate social ills in the province which are generally created by socio-economic challenges;
  • Sustainable solutions to bring about radical socio-economic transformation to address socio-economic inequalities;
  • Dealing with social instability, political intolerance and politically related violence.

In the light of the recent civil unrest, on 28 July provincial government hosted the Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration summit. Again under the leadership of former Premier Mchunu, we will be rolling out a thorough-going programme of Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration in the affected communities.

In the end, through arts, culture, sports and socio-economic development we will bring all the communities of KZN as we seek to build a united non-racist, non-sexist and prosperous KwaZulu-Natal. The work of the Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Council supplements the work done already by departments such Social Development, Sport, Arts and Culture and Community Safety and Liaison.   

Rebuilding and Recovery

Work to rebuild, unite and recover has therefore begun in earnest and KwaZulu-Natal is now reassuring the world and South Africa that it is open again for the international business fraternity and local trade. 

The programme to bring stability and recovery is beginning to yield dividends with the tide turning in the province. Big businesses such as Massmart and Unilever have pledged their support to the province. The positive turnaround seen at Toyota after threatening to leave is also a step in the right direction. Major retailers such as Mass Mart (which includes stores such as Game, Boxer, Makro), Shoprite, Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay have begun their operations, with key malls in and around KwaZulu-Natal reopened. This is sending a positive message to South Africa and the world that KwaZulu-Natal is open for business.  

The above augers really well on the gains that the KwaZulu-Natal economy has achieved in the first quarter of 2021. The KwaZulu-Natal economy recorded its third consecutive positive growth rate in the first quarter of 2021 emulating the performance of the national economy.  The provincial economy grew by an annualized growth rate of 3.71% on a quarter-on-quarter basis. The positive growth momentum in the provincial economy can be largely attributed to some increased activity in the manufacturing sector alongside a stronger rebound of the finance and retail trade industries.

Attacks On Journalists Must Be Condemmed

Lastly, we want to condemn reports that some members of the community are intimidating journalists and stopping them from doing their work.

The media is key to informing us and must be allowed to do so without fear of being victimised.

I thank you.

Ends

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