© Reuters. File photo: On July 15, 2021, after former South African President Jacob Zuma was imprisoned in Durban, South Africa, community members monitored the entry into the suburbs after a few days of robbery. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
Johannesburg (Reuters)-President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday that his government will not allow “anarchy and chaos” to prevail after the violence in South Africa this week. He believes This was deliberately provoked.
Ramaphosa made the above remarks during a visit to the city of Ethekwini, including the port city of Durban, one of the most severely robbed and arson areas in a week. Hundreds of businesses were destroyed and more than 100 people were killed.
The President stated that the government is doing everything it can to deal with the unrest. He said the unrest has severely weakened investor confidence and hit South Africa’s economic recovery.
“We will not allow anarchy and chaos,” Ramaphosa said.
As the violence appears to be diminishing and the company is working to restart operations, parts of the commercial capital of Johannesburg are returning to calm, although most stores are still closed.
The long-term social and economic costs of turmoil have become more and more obvious, and people are calling on the government to solve the fundamental problem to prevent more violence and despair.
Riots broke out in various areas of the country after Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma, was jailed for failing to attend a corruption investigation last week.
It quickly degenerated into plunder and destruction, driven by widespread anger over poverty and inequality that persisted nearly three years after the end of a minority of white rule.
Ramaphosa said in Durban that these incidents were clearly “inciting” and “we are hunting down these people.” He did not specify who it was.
He expressed concern about increasing ethnic tensions in certain areas of the country. Some white minorities and Indian communities—who usually live better than blacks—have armed themselves against the mob.
His office said he will also visit KwaZulu-Natal, one of Zuma’s flashpoints and support centers, to assess the impact of violence and the deployment of security forces.
The military has gathered all reserve personnel to support the army and police, and a total of 25,000 soldiers can go to the outbreak point.
There was still some unrest on Friday. eNCA TV reported that a business park in the town of Isipingo, KwaZulu-Natal, south of Durban, was set on fire overnight.
The official death toll in KwaZulu-Natal is 91, and in Gauteng (including Johannesburg) there are 26, with a total of 117 deaths.
The looting of shops has made food and other necessities in short supply.
Transnet, the national logistics group, said that despite road closures and fuel and food shortages restricting its supply chain, operations at the Durban and Richards Bay ports are improving.
Transnet said: “The Port of Richards Bay has successfully cleared all the shipping backlogs.”
Retailer Massmart said that during the riots, protesters robbed 41 of its stores and two distribution centers, four of which were severely damaged by arson.
The government characterizes violence as a crime.
But the Nelson Mandela Foundation-the legacy of the late leader of the anti-apartheid struggle and the first black president of South Africa-stated that the violence has been increasing at a “disturbing degree” over the past two decades and is now considered to be normal.
It said that the state has been focusing on strengthening law enforcement but has neglected strategies to address the root causes of the problem.
“Too many people feel abandoned and desperate, too many people have nothing to lose, too many people see politics and other elites at all levels playing with the law and get away with it,” the foundation said.
According to Risenga Maluleke, head of the South African Bureau of Statistics, it may take years to rebuild damaged infrastructure, and small businesses “will have difficulty rising from the ashes.”
He said this will lead to more unemployment. Most of the people on the street are young people, with poor job prospects and limited educational opportunities.
“There is no doubt that this generation is related to poverty and unemployment from birth to death,” he said.
Half of South Africans live below the official poverty line, and the unemployment rate in the first three months of 2021 reached a record 32%, partly due to the impact of COVID-19.
Zu Ma, 79, was sentenced for ignoring an order to provide evidence in a judicial investigation into high-level corruption during his tenure from 2009 to 2018.
In another case, he pleaded not guilty to allegations of corruption, fraud, extortion and money laundering, saying that he was a victim of political persecution.
His downfall triggered a power struggle within the African National Congress (ANC), which has been in power since the end of apartheid in 1994. Zuma’s supporters constitute the strongest faction against Ramaphosa.