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South Africa mobilizes the military in the fight against anarchy


Violent riots plunge South Africa into chaos following the imprisonment of ex-President Zuma. In a climate of lawlessness there is looting and pillaging. There are dead and injured.

Violent riots plunge South Africa into chaos following the imprisonment of ex-President Zuma.

In a climate of lawlessness there is looting and pillaging.

There are dead and injured.

Durban - Burning blockades, shots, chaos and powerless police officers: In South Africa's economic center around Johannesburg and in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, violence has been raging for days.

There are dead and injured, shopping malls on fire and highways and trunk roads blocked.

They bring important logistics chains, but also buses and trains in Africa's strongest economy, to a standstill.

The willingness to use violence is shocking.

On Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned a total of ten dead and four injured police officers in his speech to the nation.

"Anarchy" was the headline of the newspaper "The Citizen" on its front page.

During Ramaphosa's speech to the nation, the treadmill TV showed live images from a shopping mall in Durban where people were strolling freely with baskets and other bins to loot.

"It's not us," said a serious-looking president.

Frustration breaks out

What began as local protests against the imprisonment of ex-President Jacob Zuma has long since taken on a life of its own and developed a new dynamic. Against the background of the general frustration of many South Africans about the increased unemployment and prospects as well as severe inequality caused by Covid restrictions, a kind of collective intoxication suddenly broke through.

"It looks like a sale shortly after Christmas," said a reporter who, together with the police, watched crowds of people looting. Eyewitnesses reported in front of the camera on people who drove up in mid-range cars and took away refrigerators, beds, clothes, shoes or even furniture. The law enforcement officers had to watch powerlessly in view of the overwhelming numbers or take cover from stone throwers. Looters played cat and mouse and came back as soon as the cops were gone.

Everything that could be taken with you was carried away: cell phones, TV sets, bags full of groceries, but also doors or tills.

Even a picture of a young looter with a dildo in hand made the rounds on social media.

There - for example in Durban - neighborhood help was organized to prevent the anarchy from spilling over into the residential areas.

According to the German consulate, almost 5,000 Germans - and about three times the number of so-called "Springbok Germans" - South Africans of German origin live in the local province of KwaZulu-Natal.

“Our community is on standby - they are even burning sugar farms down,” said Chris Schädle, who runs his “Siggi's” restaurant in the coastal town of Salt Rock.

In the port city of Durban, which is twinned with Bremen, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the German school is overshadowed by violence.

The city has one of the most important ports on the continent - the N3 motorway from Durban to the industrial center around Johannesburg is therefore one of the country's most important transport axes.

It is now closed indefinitely, given the many trucks that have been flared.

President Ramaphosa warned that this would jeopardize food security and the vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 in the long term.

A nightmare looms

Although Nelson Mandela's dream of a peaceful rainbow nation has been clouded again and again in the past by xenophobic excesses of violence against Africans from other parts of the continent, a nightmare looms now.

"Ramaphosa tells us that he no longer has control," said the spokesman for the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Vuyani Pemba, in a TV interview. The president is fighting on several fronts: on the one hand, he has to stop the galloping numbers of infections in what is now the third wave of corona infections, and on the other hand, he has to reform his African National Congress (ANC), which was increasingly stuck in the swamp of a clique of clients and favorites under the tenure of his predecessor Jacob Zuma . Zuma's imprisonment was therefore an important milestone for the young democracy.

In addition, the head of state urgently needs to create jobs.

Because one of the toughest curfews in the world has exacerbated the pre-pandemic economic crisis in the Cape.

Entire industries - for example in the tourism sector - groaned under restrictions.

Many companies gave up.

Those who persevered are now confronted with new worries: shop fittings destroyed, goods looted, no more money in the till.

Numerous jobs are in danger of being lost.

The military is now supposed to enforce security with the police - which in turn displeases the populist EFF politician Julius Malema.

He announced protests by his supporters in the event of mobilization.


Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-07-13

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