It looks like some people have found a funny side to the recent mixed messages from some Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) ministers and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Following the rampant looting and violent unrest in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, Ramaphosa came out boldly to label the incidences as a “failed attempted insurrection”, while also acknowledging government’s unpreparedness for the riots.
But this was very different to the statements made by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, who have continuously insisted the violence – which has left more than 300 people dead to date – had nothing to do with a coup or an insurrection.
The contradictory statements have been seen as damaging to the image of the security cluster, as well as the ANC, with some political analysts suggesting that Ramphosa was “being betrayed by members of his Cabinet”.
Now the opposition seems to be enjoying the moments of confusion.
As the meeting of Parliament’s portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs was about to start on Thursday morning, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi jokingly took a jab at the security cluster on the mixed messages.
“Where’s the chair? Must I take the chairmanship?” she asked.
Mkhaliphi then continued to say: “Must I start a coup? We are ready. The insurrection…. a counter-revolutionary or something.”
To which another MP, Bhekumzi Charles Stofile, laughed and responded by saying, “no no no, that is incorrect”.
WATCH: Sitting of Parliament’s portfolio committee
Meanwhile, Dlodlo and Police Minister Bheki Cele have also been at odds over whether the South African Police Service (Saps) was provided with intelligence reports about the riots.
While Dlodlo claimed that police had such information, Cele, however, has disputed this.
On the contradictory statements made by the security clusters ministers over the unrest, National Assembly house chairperson for committees, Cedric Frolick, said such actions were “unacceptable” and “drastic action” would be taken.
“What gone down doesn’t bode well for the image of the security services in the country and drastic action will have to be taken to ensure that that image is restored,” Frolick told the SABC on Tuesday.
Frolick also revealed that Parliament was set to investigate the deadly civil unrest that the country witnessed two weeks ago.
He said following oversight visits in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, it was clear that Parliament required more information on the unrest, which would see an inquiry set up to investigate the matter.
While the ANC MP questioned whether the State Security Agency (SSA) had an intelligence report on the riots prior to the incidences occurring, he said Parliament was looking to begin with the investigation as soon as possible.