South Africa Army extends deployment to reserve troops to quell revolt
The burnt out cars of looters in Durban, South Africa
South Africa has increased its deployment of troops to suppress the violent protests that have swept through Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban. 25,000 regular and reserve soldiers are now tasked with snuffing out the “ethnic mobilisation” of protestors.
Protests began last week after the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court. He failed to turn up to a government commission that was investigating corruption during his presidency. Protests began when he handed himself in to begin a fifteen month prison sentence. What began as a hold up of major roads quickly turned into stealing and fire bombing businesses in all sectors.
The government failed to act on the rampage of violent looters efficiently. Initially, the police were tasked with suppressing the protests, but quickly ran out of ammunition, leaving South African citizens to fight for themselves. On Tuesday, the government deployed the army to quash the civil unrest.
International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor, told Namibia that the government was acting to restore order in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) shared a picture of soldiers patrolling the streets of Vosloorus in Gauteng.
— SABC News (@SABCNews) July 15, 2021
Over the week of violence, families have lost their livelihood: houses, places of work, cars, friends and family. Pictures were shared of smashed shops, plundered malls, barricaded streets and burnt out cars. The Covid vaccination effort has been put on hold in eastern South Africa and the government has warned its population that it is running out of basic provisions.
South Africans have accused the government of turning their back on the violence. Thousands of families have stood guard at night shooting at looters trying to steal from their homes. A fractured beloved country with a turbulent history has reignited its fire.