South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday in a television address that a state of emergency in response to days of rioting was not needed because the violence was declining and calm was returning.
“It is clear now that the events of the past week were nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy. The constitutional order of our country is under threat,” Ramaphosa said on Friday evening. “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.”
However, he cautioned that despite fears the riots would cause shortages of essential supplies, security forces were working with businesses to ensure the safe transportation of fuel, food, oxygen and medicine, so there was no need for citizens to panic buy.
“We will extinguish the fires that are raging, and stamp out every last ember. We will identify and act against those who lit the flame, and those who spread it,” he said. “We will find those who instigated this violence. They will be held accountable for their deeds. We will not allow anyone to destabilise our country and get away with it.”
However, he noted that 10,000 South African National Defense Force troops had been deployed “to supplement the work of police,…