By Spy Uganda Correspondent
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa visited three shopping centers in Soweto on Sunday to help clean up damaged businesses.
Ramaphosa joined post-riot clean-up efforts as his government warned against vigilantism and sought to avert racial conflict following days of unrest.
The country was gripped by more than a week of chaos in which more than 200 people were killed and More than 2,500 have been arrested for theft and vandalism as looters ransacked shopping centers and rioters torched key industrial infrastructure and blocked trade routes.
Malls of the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces were amongst the most affected by the violence and looting that has gripped the country for the last ten days.
The unrest started after former South African president Jacob Zuma started serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court for refusing to comply with a court order to testify at a state-backed inquiry investigating allegations of corruption while he was in office.
Many who died were trampled to death when shops were looted, police said.
“We are all really concerned about what happened here but we are also saying we have learned valuable lessons,”Ramaphosa told reporters in Soweto.
“We have learnt important lessons and the most important lesson is, in the end, we must tighten up our security forces but we must also ensure that the defense of our democracy is firmly in the hands of our people,” he added.
This visit to Soweto also took place on Mandela Day, an international event during which citizens are urged to dedicate 67 minutes to volunteering and community service to honor the legacy of former South African president and Father of the Nation Nelson Mandela.
Ramaphosa who has faced criticism over the response to the violence told a crowd outside a mall in the Soweto township. “We all admit there were lapses, we will gather ourselves and do a proper review.”
“People want to defend what we have in the form of democracy, our constitution and economy.”
He also called for unity: “We must emerge after this much, much stronger and much more capable than we were before this incident happened.”