FILE PHOTO: Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula briefs media on Covid-19 epidemic at OR Tambo building, Pretoria [Photo: DIRCO]

GOVERNMENT has distanced itself from comments made by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s comments that there was no insurrection, saying that her comments are not supported by the facts on the ground.

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said government did not know where this contrary view came from because the facts did not support it. 

Ntshavheni was briefing the media on Monday to give an update on the unrest that took place in the country last week.

“We want to clarify that the position of government is that as articulated by the President of an attempt at insurrection in the country. And that perspective is informed by discussions at the national security council, which is chaired by the President, and he receives briefing from the military commanders and also the other law enforcement agencies,” Ntshavheni said.

“Any contrary view, we do not know where it comes from.”

Ntshavheni said Mapisa-Nqakula contradicted President Ramaphosa when she said the riots last week were not part of a planned insurrection.

On Sunday night, Defence Minister, Mapisa-Nqakula contradicted President Cyril Ramaphosa on the issue of an attempt at insurrection in the country during her briefing in parliament.

“The issue is if it is an insurrection, then the insurrection must have a face, if it is an insurrection against government, it must have a face. If it is about a coup, the coup will also have a face but none of those so far talk to that,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

“General [Bantu] Holomisa asked a question on what it is that we are dealing with – whether it is conventional, is it an insurgence? Chairperson, our view, to be honest, is that it is none of those. We have also had people making a reference to an insurrection or coup.”

On Friday evening, Ramaphosa described the unrest that played out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as a failed insurrection.

“The current instability and ongoing incitement to violence constitutes a direct contravention of the Constitution and the rule of law. These actions are intended to cripple the economy, cause social instability and severely weaken – or even dislodge – the democratic state. Using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts have sought to provoke a popular insurrection,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

“Yet, despite the widespread destruction, this attempted insurrection has failed to gain popular support. If we stand together, no insurrection or violence in this country will succeed.”

Ramaphosa also said the unrest was nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on the country’s democracy and that the constitutional order of the country was under threat. 

But Mapisa-Nqakula on Sunday told the Portfolio Committee on Defence that there was no insurrection in South Africa in the past few days.

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