Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has refuted reports that Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula contradicted the President on the issue of an attempted “insurrection in the country”. On Friday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa described the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as a “failed insurrection”.

But, on Sunday Mapisa-Nqakula told the Portfolio Committee on Defence that it was not an insurrection. Ntshavheni was briefing the media in Pretoria on the government’s intervention in quelling the riots in the two provinces.

Ntshavheni says the President’s perspective on the recent events is informed by discussions at the National Security Council which the President chairs.

“We want to clarify that the position of the government is that, as articulated by the President, of an attempt at an insurrection in the country, that perspective is informed by the discussions with the National Security Council which is chaired by the President of which he receives a briefing from the military command and also other law enforcement agencies. To that effect, any contrary, we don’t know where it comes from, it’s not a view that is supported by any facts, by our law enforcement agencies including the military.”

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni briefs media on the violence that engulfed parts of KZN and Gauteng: 

Number of lives lost

Meanwhile, the number of people who lost their lives as a result of the violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has risen to 215.

“In KwaZulu-Natal, the situation is now stable and no new incidents of looting were reported. However, three additional deaths have been reported. Ministers and provincial leaders, led by Premier Sihle Zikalala continued with stakeholder and community engagements to calm the tensions within the communities. Therefore the total recorded deaths to date as a result of this violence is 215,” says Ntshavheni.

Ntshavheni says six people have so far been arrested for allegedly instigating the recent riots. She says three people were arrested earlier and have been remanded in police custody while awaiting their bail application.