Pretoria – Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Tuesday said that the army would be only be deployed in Tshwane as a last resort only.
“The situation is assessed on a daily basis and depending on the outcome of that assessment we will make a choice on whether to deploy the SANDF or not. They [the army] are a last line. We have the police deployed across the country,” she said at a press briefing in Pretoria.
She added that 20 criminal cases had been registered since a wave of violence swept over Tshwane.
Several areas emerged as flashpoints of violence, in a backlash against the announcement of Thoko Didiza as the ANC’s mayoral candidate.
The townships of Attridgeville and Soshanguve in Tshwane were widely considered to be n- go area as residents took to the streets to protest, blockading roads in the process.
Several reports of looting were also reported in Attridgeville and Mamelodi.
“Criminal matters arising out of this will be prioritised. Approximately 20 cases are under investigation and some arrests have been made. We invite anyone with information [on those who have broken the law] to come forward so we can act with speed,” she said.
“We have noted the criminal elements who have taken advantage of this situation. No public area shall be turned into a no-go zone,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.
She decried the destruction of property and violence.
“The destruction of property and chaos we have witnessed is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue. We have seen buses burnt and roads barricaded, but as we are talking now, everything is fine. Government is calling for calm and we are responding to the situation,” she said.
“We call on all people not allow themselves to be misled by misinformation on social media intended to cause confusion and panic. We will make official announcements as and when they are necessary,” she said.
“Damage to property and infrastructure and infringing on the free movement of others will not be tolerated by law enforcement agencies. Burning buses has really impacted the lives of people living in those areas, and has affected young and old.”