Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen says he has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting an urgent meeting to include all opposition parties in Parliament regarding the timeline to the week leading up to the looting and unrest that hit KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng earlier in July.

Steenhuisen says he wants explanations from the president about what was known and what action was taken.

He says they also want the Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo and Police Minister Bheki Cele, who are part of the security cluster, to form part of the meeting.

“The meeting I have requested with the president will offer Minister Dlodlo the opportunity is set out for the benefit of those who are outside the governing party the timeline of events leading up to the violence and looting as well as the details of the reports and briefing that were given to natjoints. It will also offer an opportunity for Minister Cele to explain how much of this he was privy to and why it took crime intelligence and SAPS so long to react. Now it’s critical that these questions are not opposed and answered behind the cloak and dagger veil of secrecy that have characterised the security cluster to date-which was heavily criticised in the Mufamadi high-level panel report.”

Damage caused to Gauteng

Earlier, Gauteng Premier David Makhura says preliminary estimates show that the damage caused by the recent unrest to the province’s economy amounts to three and a half billion rand.

He says the figures relate to the damage caused to businesses and the stock that has been looted.

Makhura says the figures do not include uninsured township businesses.

The Premier was giving an update on the provincial government’s economic reconstruction and recovery plans in response to the unrest.

Makhura is expected to outline measures the provincial government will be taking to help businesses and communities affected by the violent protests.

He says 14 500 jobs have been affected, with 30 malls also affected by the looting.

Phoenix violence

The South African Council of Churches General Secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana says brutal accounts of the events that unfolded in Phoenix recently have been brought to their attention.

Mpumlwana says he was part of a two-day provincial pastoral visit led by the KZN Council of Churches which ended on Wednesday.

He says they also paid a pastoral visit to the Zuma family in Nkandla.

Bishop Mpumlwana says the visit led by the KwaZulu-Natal Council of Churches (KZN-CC) included community members of Inanda, Phoenix and Hindu religious leaders who met with local community leaders.

“We listened to accounts of brutal attacks on innocent people. We listened to a grieving father of a slain son. Percy was his name. We heard of accounts of wounded survivors. We also heard of courageous plans of Hindu and Christian religious leaders to pursue justice, heal the community for the making of peace with justice. Peace that restores the equilibrium of life for these communities that have to rebuild their life together and South Africans. This is a task they intend to go into with zeal in the understanding of the challenges” says Bishop Mpumlwana.

He says they also had a meaningful pastoral visit to the former president’s family.

Mpumlwana says the visit was conducted by representatives of the Anglican Church, the KZN-CC and the Zuma family church, the KZN Regional Council of the Congregational Church on Tuesday.

“We visited and prayed with both the widow of Mr Michael Zuma as well as the family of Mr Jacob Zuma, to pray with and help them cope with the pressure of the situation they have to deal with, especially MaKhumalo who has not been too well, ably supported by MaNgema who graciously hosted us. In both, the resilience in the pain of Phoenix and the dignity of the Zuma mothers in the turbulence of this moment as a family, tell of the strength of the human spirit and the presence of God’s grace in all circumstances,” adds Bishop Mpumlwana.