Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula made an about turn on comments that South Africa’s unrest amounted to a counter revolution and now agrees with President Cyril Ramaphosa it was insurrection.
The apology, reported by a number of media outlets, comes in the wake of Minister Mapisa-Nqakula telling Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) last week’s civil unrest was not an insurrection, contrary to Ramaphosa. She is on record as informing the Parliamentary oversight committee the looting, rioting and destruction of property was “probably signs of counter revolution, creeping in in the form of criminality and thuggery”.
She was subsequently taken by task by Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni who told a briefing “the facts do not support Mapisa-Nqakula’s comment there was no insurrection”.
Mapisa-Nqakula backtracked yesterday saying “it was indeed an attempted insurrection”.
She was speaking at the SA Police Service (SAPS) training academy in Durban where JSCD and Police Portfolio Committee members were briefed on the security situation in the KwaZulu-Natal port city.
Mapisa-Nqakula is reported as saying she was “not going against the President”.
“The President has spoken,” News24 quotes her continuing: “It was an attempted insurrection. I confined myself to (the term) counter revolutionary but ultimately, remember any element of counter revolution may lead to insurrection in a country”.
She said she used the term counter revolution because it is defined as “undermining all authorities of the state and country”.
“There was never a deliberate attempt or mischief making on my side to deliberately contradict the Commander-in-Chief, particularly because I am a member of the National Security Council. I also provide reports on behalf of my team to the National Security Council,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.
Ntshavheni said six people, identified as alleged instigators of the violent riots in two provinces were arrested and some have already appeared in court.
According to her efforts to restore economic activity are underway with major routes and economic nodes operational.
To date, recorded deaths from the violence stand at 215.
Ntshavheni said since Friday the situation in Gauteng has “completely stabilised” and clean-up and business continuity efforts are underway for businesses not completely vandalised.
“As reported on Friday, the N2 and N3 routes reopened and no incidents have been reported since reopening,” she said.
As far as the rail network is concerned, the main line (between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal) and Kroonstad lines are operational, including the North and South Coast lines linking Durban and Richards Bay.
Ntshavheni said Durban and Richards Bay ports are operational and export supply chains are resuming and with citrus exports underway.
The situation in KwaZulu-Natal is reportedly stable with no new incidents of looting reported.