President Ramaphosa finalises terms of reference for expert panel

President Cyril Ramaphosa has finalised the terms of reference of the expert panel he has established to review government’s response to the incidents of public violence, destruction of property and looting that took place in July 2021.

President Ramaphosa announced the establishment of the panel in his address to the nation on 5 August 2021.

The panel consists of Prof Sandy Africa as chairperson, Adv Mojanku Gumbi and Silumko Sokupa, who were appointed on 20 August 2021.

Among its tasks, the panel will be expected to:

Inquire into and make findings on whether government’s response to the violence and associated security threat was appropriate, timely and coordinated.

Inquire into the capability and lack thereof of the security forces in responding to the violence.

Inquire into the availability of necessary resources/equipment or lack thereof that could have enabled the security forces to respond to the violence.

Inquire into the adequacy of the leadership and command structures of the security forces to deal with the violence and associated security threat.

Review what information relevant to the outbreak of violence and looting was available to the structures of government both in the period leading up to, and after, the outbreak of violence.

Inquire into and make findings on how information relevant to the violence and looting was managed, processed and coordinated within government.

Inquire into community-based reaction and private sector initiatives, both leading up to, and after, the outbreak of violence.

Assess whether the deployment of security services and law enforcement was unduly delayed, and, if so, to establish the reasons why.

Inquire into the adequacy and coherence of the government’s public communications on the security situation.

The panel is expected to make recommendations to the President on all these matters, and specifically on measures and systems that need to be put in place by the government to respond to such occurrences.

It is expected that the panel’s report and recommendations will be provided to the President within three months of its full establishment.

President Ramaphosa has thanked panel members for agreeing to undertake this responsibility and the extensive detailed work that it will entail.

“It is critical that we have a thorough and independent assessment of the readiness and response of government to these devastating events. This analysis will inform the steps we must take to improve our law enforcement and security capabilities.

“All state entities are ready to provide the panel with any assistance, information and support that it needs,” President Ramaphosa said.

Source: South African Government News Agency