Leaders of some political parties today met upon the invitation of President Cyril Ramaphosa with the various ministers in the security cluster also in attendance.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) shared many concerns and frustrations of other political parties but addressed with the president our view that government must consider that the origins of the mayhem stem from the ruling party’s political infighting. Given this context, the UDM found it difficult to trust the political status quo and with whom we are dealing.

We furthermore specifically raised the issue of the poor state of readiness of our security forces with President Ramaphosa and the ministers.

This is not even a question of poor intelligence gathering as the instigators of anarchy have for weeks expressly threatened action in the name of former President Jacob Zuma. The violence and destruction of property, over the past weekend, just added credibility and more weight to these threats.

There is no excuse. The South African Police Services (SAPS) should have been at high alert and ready to deploy extra resources at the drop of a hat. Instead, their members were sent into a volatile situation understaffed and poorly equipped.

We did however commend President Ramaphosa for deploying the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) when he did.

It is however strange that only a couple of thousand troops were deployed in this crisis, whilst 75,000 SANDF members were tasked to enforce regulations during hard Covid-19 lockdown. The current response is not concomitant with the current threat.

Furthermore, soldiers must have a clear understanding of their mission and orders. At the moment it is only clear who they are protecting, but not from whom. Who is the enemy in this scenario?

The UDM supports the restoration of order in the country whilst the many challenging issues are addressed.

We also extend our condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have perished in the violence. May their souls rest in peace.

Issued by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement