President Ramaphosa promises to strengthen South Africa security agencies

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to make sweeping “leadership changes” in the country’s security agencies.

The pledge comes after a damning report on the deadly civil unrest in two South African provinces last year.

President Ramaphosa made the promise to the public during his annual state-of-the-nation address on Thursday 10th February. He said the investigation into the violence and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July painted a “deeply disturbing” picture of the security services and their coordinating structures.

The critical report, released on Monday, concluded that the government’s initial handling of the events was poor, as well as the police operational planning was inadequate. It also stated that there was poor coordination between the state security and intelligence services.

The Report of the Expert Panel into the July 2021 Civil Unrest was commissioned by Cyril Ramaphosa and stated it was hard for its investigators to pinpoint exactly why the co-ordination between the government’s security structures was so poor, but it did offer up a few potential reasons for it.

The investigators concluded that President Ramaphosa’s cabinet had to take overall responsibility for the civil unrest. In response, President Ramaphosa has declared that his government would fill critical vacancies and address positions affected by suspensions in the State Security Agency and crime intelligence division of the South African Police Services.

He said: “We will also soon be announcing leadership changes in a number of security agencies to strengthen our security structures.”

He also said that measures would be put in place to recruit and train at least 12,000 new police officers, who would be deployed to South African Police Service’s public order units.

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