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South Africa Mulls Deploying 25,000 Troops To Quell Riots

South Africa Mulls Deploying 25,000 Troops To Quell Riots

South Africa Mulls Deploying 25,000 Troops To Quell Riots

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South Africa Mulls Deploying 25,000 Troops To Quell Riots

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On July 14th, the South African government is mulling increase the military deployment to curb unrest to 25,000 personnel.

The initial number was 2,500, then it was increased to 5,000 but that evidently has no effect.

The violent riots and looting are in their sixth day, amid fears of food and fuel shortages as disruption to farming, manufacturing and oil refining began to worsen.

Seventy-two people have died and more than 1,200 people have been arrested, according to official figures, since former president Jacob Zuma began a 15-month jail term, sparking protests that swiftly turned violent.

The government said 208 incidents of looting and vandalism were recorded on July 14th alone, as the number of troops deployed was initially doubled to 5,000.

Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told parliament she had “submitted a request for deployment of plus-minus 25,000” soldiers. Troop deployments are authorized by the president.

Over the 6 days, the country’s consumer goods regulatory body estimated that more than 800 retail shops had been looted.

President Cyril Ramaphosa met leaders of political parties and cautioned that parts of the country “may soon be running short of basic provisions following the extensive disruption of food, fuel and medicine supply chains”.

State-owned logistics operator Transnet declared a “force majeure on a key rail line that links Johannesburg to the coast because of the unrest.

In the port city of Durban, hundreds of people queued outside food stores hours before they opened, as lines of cars also formed outside fuel stations, an AFP photographer saw.

Images of crowds of looters hauling away refrigerators, large televisions, microwave ovens and crates of food and alcohol have been a visceral shock for many South Africans.

The new king of the Zulu community, Misuzulu Zulu, said violence had brought “great shame” on his people.

“This chaos is destroying the economy, and it is the poor who will suffer the most,” warned the monarch, who has moral influence over Zulus but no executive powers.

“This is unprecedented economic damage that is taking place,” Mohale agreed.

It could be that potentially the violence is subsiding, as people can be seen attempting to gather and clean up and restore some order.


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