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 Cele;
Deputy National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Masemola;
National Head of Crime Intelligence Lieutenant-General Mathakatha;
KZN Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Mkhwanazi;
Colleagues from the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Police General Cele for his presence and for giving us an update on what has transpired since the unrest especially focusing in the area of Phoenix.
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 and South Africa.
We wish to express our appreciation to the Minister for giving us this detailed presentation which shows that the matter is receiving his 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 as well as 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 as well as Northdale in Pietermaritzburg.
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 others were burnt to death.
We send our condolences to families for these losses.
In the midst of that despair, we are however encouraged that in Phoenix, Chatsworth, Verulam, Northdale and many areas, good citizens are standing up against these barbaric acts. We have seen groups of social activists in the Indian and African communities embarking on a campaign under the theme All Lives Matter.
We have seen the ABC Forum represented by Bishop Justin Naidoo, which is a group of churches based in Phoenix, pulling their resources and donating a car to one of the victims whose car was burnt Ms Zandile Mthembu.
The social solidarity demonstrated by the community of Phoenix in pursuit of peace and justice, among all people across different races, must be applauded.
The Department of Community Safety and Liaison and the Department of 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 for families in distress. These are families residing in Inanda, Zwelisha, Amaoti, Bhambayi and Phoenix. Most of them are those who lost their loved ones. A team of Social Workers continues to work with the affected families to ensure that they heal and come to terms with this loss.
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 as well as employees.
OUR APEX PRIORITY IS TO RESTORE PEACE AND STABILITY IN OUR PROVINCE
It is our priority to bring peace and stability. The increased visibility of security personnel from the SAPS and South African National Defence Force 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 assessing the impact of the civil unrest and are compiling our comprehensive report to the National Disaster Management Centre. This will assist and support Provincial Government’s submission for the declaration of the Provincial State of Disaster in line with Section 23 (1) (b) of the Disaster Management Act.
Currently we believe the damage that was incurred is as follows:
The current estimated cost of damages and relief required for the sector departments at a provincial level stands above R2 Billion whereas the municipal damages amount to 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 as we consolidate our report.
THE SOCIAL COHESION AND MORAL REGENERATION APPROACH
In line with what the Minister has said, ours in this regard is to ensure stability and that must be a programme that is sustainable. We are not always going to keep the high numbers of police and members of the SANDF, we need to build harmony and coexistence among the people especially in the area of Phoenix and surroundings.
It was down the road in KwaMashu where in 2017 under the leadership of the 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 the society, and the Deputy Chairperson of the Moral Regeneration and Social Cohesion Council is Bishop Ruben Phillip. We have also appointed Social Cohesion Advocates who lead the campaign to ensure there is mediation in areas that are affected by tensions. The key objective of Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration is to develop a comprehensive provincial strategy to address inter alia the following:
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 from the economy. 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 that persist;
Dealing with social instability, political intolerance and politically related violence.
In the light of the recent civil unrest, on 28th of July we hosted the Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Council. And under the leadership of Bishop Ruben Phillip as the Deputy Chair and other eminent peace Ambassadors including former Premier Willies Mchunu together with civil society, we are rolling out a programme that seeks to intervene in the areas of Phoenix, Inanda, Amaoti and all other surrounding areas. Last week we hosted a Peace Walk which was led by religious leaders. We also hosted a soccer tournament through the organizations in Phoenix and Inanda and it was attended and addressed by Bishop Ruben Phillip. These programmes will not be the last or the end because we will continue with a number of events and programmes that seeks to bring together the communities in the affected areas.
In the end, through arts, culture, sports and socio-economic development we will bring all the communities of KwaZulu-Natal 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 as Social Development, Sport, Arts and Culture as well as 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 turn around 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 CONDEMNED
Lastly, we want to take this opportunity condemn in the strongest term the 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. We will continue with the programme to ensure stability and coexistence of communities in Phoenix and in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal as a whole.
I thank you.