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President Cyril Ramaphosa says the development of a national security strategy is being prioritised. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the development of a national security strategy is being prioritised. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL

The government is taking decisive steps to prevent a recurrence of the July 2021 unrest and looting that caused death and injury and wiped R50bn from the economy, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Giving evidence at the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) inquiry on Friday, Ramaphosa acknowledged that the government was poorly prepared for what he called “an orchestrated campaign of public violence, destruction and sabotage”.

“The fundamental cause of this unrest was a deliberate decision by certain individuals to instigate, co-ordinate and incite widespread destruction of property, violence and looting.

“The identity of these individuals and the motives for their actions are the subject of ongoing investigations and legal proceedings.”

Ramaphosa said he felt “the greatest sense of betrayal that there were among us those who would go so far as to plot to destroy this very country we have spent the past 28 years building”.

“For one week and one day in July 2021, we stared into the heart of darkness. We watched in horror as parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were engulfed in violence, looting and destruction.”

As part of remedial action to safeguard the integrity, security and stability of the country, government was strengthening the capacity of the justice, crime prevention and security cluster.

The development of a national security strategy was also being prioritised, Ramaphosa said, for which he would ensure “there is a rigorous and thorough process of public consultation”.

TimesLIVE

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