Statement by Premier Alan Winde:
The public violence unfolding in parts of South Africa today is deeply concerning to me and I call for calm, and a respect for the rule of law in the Western Cape, and across the country.
I strongly condemn all those involved in these acts of violence and looting, wherever they may be. I understand that President Ramaphosa will address the nation tonight on this matter. I will support all appropriate measures for order to be restored and for those responsible to be arrested and prosecuted fully.
The criminal acts of a few are undermining the rights of our fellow citizens, denying many in our country their right to healthcare, and to earn a living at a time when it is desperately needed. This is unacceptable and must be stopped.
The Western Cape Government, through the Provincial Minister of Community Safety, Adv. Albert Fritz, has been in close contact with the Provincial Police Commissioner, General Thembisile Patekile throughout this period, and I have also had a conversation with him. I am being briefed regularly.
I can confirm that the SAPS and other law enforcement officials are on full alert in the Western Cape and remain ready to ensure law and order is maintained, and the rights and livelihoods of our residents are protected.
According to the briefings I have received so far, there have been some isolated attempts in the Western Cape, but all have so far been successfully brought under control by law enforcement and there have been no reports of looting. This is an unfolding situation and I will keep you informed if there are new developments.
I will remain in close contact with the Provincial Police Commissioner, the Joint Operations Centre in the province, and if the need requires it, the President to ensure the safety of our residents.
I urge our residents to stay calm, and to report any criminal activity immediately to the SAPS, which can be reached on 08600 10111. It is of utmost importance that every single resident respects the rule of law. I want to be crystal clear that we will not tolerate lawlessness, and public violence will lead to arrests and prosecution.
We are busy fighting a devastating third wave of COVID-19 infections and many of our residents are sick and some are dying. Many businesses are also struggling right now because of restrictions. This public violence will only make the situation worse, while disrupting life-saving vaccinations at a time when we are beginning to scale-up rapidly.
We cannot allow this to happen. I therefore call on each and every resident to reject this violence, to remain calm, and to respect the law, so that we can continue to save lives and jobs in the Western Cape and South Africa.