Mapisa-Nqakula: There was no cooperation from KZN authorities during July riots

Former Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula gave evidence before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) hearing looking into the violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Speaker of the National Assembly and former Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula appears before the South African Human Rights Commission hearing into the July riots on 22 November 2021. Picture: @SAHRCommission/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Former Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said that there was a lack of cooperation from the KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner during the July unrest.

She gave evidence before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) hearing looking into the violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Mapisa-Nqakula explained that on 10 July it was not yet necessary for the army to be deployed.

"The were indications from the police that the police were overwhelmed by what was happening," the former minister said.

However, the next day, the president asked for the deployment of the SANDF and made contact with Police Minister Bheki Cele.

In a space of three days, the number of soldiers were increased to about 25,000 as the situation escalated.

But Mapisa-Nqakula also mentioned that the KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner was reluctant to share information with her and colleagues.

"There was no cooperation whatsoever from the people responsible here," Mapisa-Nqakula said.

National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole said that while he acknowledged that the police did not have enough members to respond to the July unrest, the service was in the process of rebuilding.

Sitole on Monday also testified at the SAHRC’s hearing into the unrest in July in Kwazulu-Natal on Gauteng.

The national police commissioner said that police were overstretched and didn't have enough capacity to respond to the unrest.

"It was a planned gathering with an unpredicted modus operandi," the police commissioner said.

He said that the police had 5,000 public order officers but actually needed 12,000.

The police commissioner attributed the slow growth in numbers to budget constraints.

When asked if there were to be more unrest, Sitole responded: "It will depend on the modus operandi approach. I have established and operationalised a modus operandi analysis centre. We're focusing on the enhancement of the activation plan."

He said that they'd also enhanced other security plans and moved to migrate resources in the form of human capital.

The hearings continue this week.