WORDS By Chanel Retief
PHOTOS By Yeshiel Panchia
TOPLINE: After a tense week of public and violent unrest that left 117 dead across South Africa, reports of #CleanUpSA have come into effect since Thursday. South Africans have taken to social media to demonstrate how in some areas of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng provinces, which saw escalated lootings and lawlessness, volunteers are coming forward to help in rebuilding looted shops, recovering stolen goods and cleaning up the streets.
Volunteers and community members sweep the streets outside the looted and destroyed Pan Africa Mall in Alexandra, Johannesburg, 15 July 2021. The city was relatively quiet as community members and volunteers came out to sweep the streets and conduct repairs after days of unrest and looting.
Construction vehicles collect debris outside the looted and destroyed Pan Africa Mall in Alexandra, Johannesburg, 15 July 2021. The city was relatively quiet as community members and volunteers came out to sweep the streets and conduct repairs after days of unrest and looting.
● Since the arrest of the former president, Jacob Zuma, South Africa has been in flames. Following his incarceration for contempt of court, there have been multiple outbreaks of public violence in parts of KZN and Gauteng. Hundreds of shops and businesses have been looted and the government says it is acting to prevent food shortages.
● The layers of this unrest look at Zuma loyalists who want the former president to be free. However, Government has commented that there have been “opportunistic criminals”. But there have been those who have also observed this could be people grabbing the opportunity to put food on the table while getting governments’ attention on service delivery issues in South Africa.
● On Tuesday, Ramaphosa deployed the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) “in support of the operations” of the South African Police Service (SAPS). About 25,000 more troops were deployed Thursday which has been reported as “one of the largest deployments of soldiers since” the end of apartheid.
● This has also led to racial tensions breaking out in some parts of South Africa but predominantly in KZN. According to the CITIZEN, Police Minister Bheki Cele took to Phoenix, north Durban, where 15 people have been killed. This follows after several reports indicated that the attacks may have been racially motivated.
● Even though the unrest has slowed down, about 117 people have died and more than 2,000 have been arrested. The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services on Wednesday in a statement
said that the alleged perpetrators of the unrests that “ravaged Gauteng since Monday” have appeared in various courts within the Gauteng Local Division.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday in his address warned that if the unrest continued, the situation could lead to food insecurity. According to a report released by S&P Global, the unrests have had an impact on agriculture in South Africa.
“Unrest in South Africa’s eastern provinces is posing a threat to the country’s already precarious food security situation by disrupting agricultural trade and transportation, and damaging infrastructure and planted crops in the region,” the report stated.
“The biggest risk in the short-term is the free movement of goods, including food and agricultural produce on the roads, specifically to and from the Durban port,” said Wandile Sihlobo, Chief Economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa.