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LIVE UPDATES: #ProtectSouthAfrica – Call to unite, resist attempts to incite violence, create panic

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The government has called on all South Africans to unite in creating a better future for all by resisting any attempts to incite violence, create panic or fuel divisions after days of looting and violence. The number of soldiers deployed in KZN and Gauteng has been pushed up to 25 000, and all SANDF reserve members were ordered to report to their units this morning.

Three suspects were caught by Mount Vernon patrollers outside the Stella Road Spar in Durban yesterday transporting alcohol. Picture: Rabin Singh/African News Agency (ANA)

The government has called on all South Africans to unite in creating a better future for all by resisting any attempts to incite violence, create panic or fuel divisions after days of looting and violence. The number of soldiers deployed in KZN and Gauteng has been pushed up to 25 000, and all SANDF reserve members were ordered to report to their units this morning.

LIVE FEED:

VULNERABLE SUFFER MOST: The C-19 People’s Coalition said on Thursday small businesses, particularly informal trading stalls and spaza shops operated by immigrants, have been targeted and looted by rioters in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

“We note that the marginalised and vulnerable suffer most when accountable politics is in short supply. The violence must be halted via a political response prioritising the safety, rights and accessing of basic needs for all. We are calling on all just people to hold government to account to act with political effectiveness prioritising the human rights of all.”

’NO LOOTING ALLOWED’: Civilians, taxi associations, informal traders, churches and community leaders have declared that no looting and vandalism will be allowed in Tshwane amid the civil unrest. READ more here

SENSE OF REASON TRIUMPHS: ’’Gift of the Givers has put its entire machinery into action, in spite of severe restrictions for safe mobility, to respond to the gargantuan crisis created by traitors in our beloved country,’’ founder Imtiaz Sooliman said in a statement on Thursday.

’’The sense of reason, compassion and love for each other has defeated traitors. The process of rebuilding our economy, livelihoods and HOPE has commenced with fervour.’’

South Africans have rallied to the call from UK, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Australia and Netherlands, Sooliman said. Contributions into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account number 052137228, Branch Code 057525, ref KZN Crisis. For tax deductible, Section 18A certificates, send deposit slips.

RACIAL TENSION: As tension remained high in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng after a wave of looting and rioting besieged the two provinces, the SANDF has called up all reserve members. All reserve troops were to report for duty at first light today at their respective units.

On Wednesday night, the military was sent into the volatile Phoenix area, north of Durban, where several people were killed. Racial tension between the Indian and African population was simmering. READ more here

GAUTENG STARVATION WORRIES: The DA in Gauteng is very concerned that many residents of Gauteng are at risk of starvation, especially those who are dependent on NGOs for food, and those that are working at malls, shopping centres and all other affected sectors.

In addition, food security in the province is at risk due to road closures, preventing trucks from delivering necessities to the shops, while fuel shortages are looming due to the halt of supply, the DA said in a statement on Thursday.

’’Thousands of workers are at risk of being left unemployed and without an income, as some of the businesses may not have the capital to restock and rebuild, already having suffered due to Covid-19 restrictions.

’’Many of these NGOs are already struggling, as the businesses who assist them have a constrained budget due to Covid-19 restrictions, and with theft and structural damage, will now not be able to support NGOs at all.’’

FOOD SECURITY THREAT: The rioting and looting has exposed the soft underbelly in the country’s food value chain. That is the over-reliance on road transportation for the movement of agricultural imports and exports, particularly through the Durban port. Continued disruptions to the transportation of food and agricultural products will threaten food security, a news website reports.

’EX-MK MEMBERS BEHIND SABOTAGE’: Former Umkhonto we Sizwe members are alleged to have been behind the ’’well-orchestrated economic sabotage’’. Deputy Minister of State Security Zizi Kodwa told a news website: ’’There is no doubt that they know the know-how of how MK operated, and they have organised in that way.’’

Intelligence sources believe their targets included Durban harbour, waterworks plants, electrical substations and even the Durban home of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who heads the State Capture Inquiry.

Professor Dasarath Chetty writes an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa imploring him to declare a state of emergency in KwaZulu-Natal saying the province was in turmoil. Read the full letter here

Crime expert Chad Thomas said the South African Police Services (SAPS) should have included the private security industry from the onset of the violent attacks, as the government forces were too few. Read more here

Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says they have pushed up the number of soldiers deployed on the ground in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng to 25 000. Read more here

AmaZulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini has appealed for calm and for peace to be restored to the Zulu nation following days of violence and looting. Read more here

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is considering a request by opposition parties to increase the number of soldiers that have been deployed on the ground in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Read more here.

South Africans have begun cleaning up and rebuilding towns affected by the violence and looting seen across the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in the past few days. Read more here.

South Africans are offering their services to help rebuild after days of looting and violence.

VACCINE ALERT: Law enforcement officers have been sent to protect clinics that are rolling out Covid-19 vaccinations, as well as vaccine storage sites and schools amid unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, a news website reported. Vaccines were allegedly stolen from a site in Durban and pharmacies looted.

MALLS ON BRINK: Shopping malls and retail outlets in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have easily suffered more than R10 billion worth of damage over the past few days, says Neil Gopal, chief executive of the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa).

“Rebuilding may take two years depending on the extent and size of the centre. Some landlords may however decide to not rebuild as the risk is too high for future incidents.”

Taxi drivers guarding Vosloorus Mall in Ekurhuleni opened fire on looters on Wednesday morning, a news website reported.

A taxi association member said it was anarchy. “These thugs will not destroy our mall. Five hundred of our members have deployed throughout Katlehong and Vosloorus to defend the malls.”

’WHEN TRUCKS STOP, SA STOPS’: Gavin Kelly, CEO of the Road Freight Association, says a State of Emergency needs to be declared – immediately. ’’The time has come for the gloves to be taken off,’’ he said in a statement on Wednesday.

’’Road carries 80% of South Africa’s goods. Simply put: when trucks stop, South Africa stops. What started out as sporadic incidents on one or two routes, has now spread to the total supply chain, affecting the transport legs (all forms, whether local or long-haul), as well as destinations and originations. With the total supply chain now being impacted, the economic effects are far-reaching – but the collapse of the supply of all goods will be the immediate result.

’’The consumer will foot the bill for what has happened – through both indirect charges relating to the cost of logistics, the need to build reserves to repair damaged infrastructure and as goods become scarce. Supply and demand will dictate cost – and if supply cannot meet demand, demand will drive prices up.’’

LOOTERS ’RELEASED’: The DA has written to the KZN police commissioner over claims that a number of people arrested for looting have been released without being charged. This comes as a result of there being no food supplies at the Pinetown police station holding cells.

’’If this is taking place at Pinetown SAPS, then there is a very strong probability that it will take place at other police stations too,’’ the DA said.

DISREGARD FOR HEALTHCARE: Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Wednesday the ongoing social unrest in Gauteng and KZN is preventing the provision of essential healthcare delivery by blocking patients, medical staff and critical supplies from reaching facilities.

’’We call for immediate steps to safeguard the right to healthcare and safety of patients, healthcare workers, medical infrastructure and supplies to avert a drastic escalation of the current Covid-19-driven healthcare crisis.

’’Numerous reports and the experiences of MSF teams indicate the violent unrest is characterised by a blatant disregard for the basic sanctity of health facilities and medical staff.’’

TORCHING OF HOSPITAL PREVENTED: Police Minister Bheki Cele told the African News Agency (ANA) on Wednesday intelligence information gathered in advance by law enforcement agencies averted the burning of a hospital full of patients in Durban.

“A lot (of destruction) has happened, but unfortunately we do not talk about that which has not happened. For instance in KZN yesterday, they were planning to burn the hospital. Literally planning to burn the hospital with patients inside. That was averted. They were planning to burn the legislature and things like those in KZN.”

Picture: Facebook / Diepsloot Residents’ Association

STOLEN LOOT RECOVERED: The Diepsloot Residents’ Association in Johannesburg has been doing door-to-door operations to recover items that were looted by residents from a nearby shopping centre.

Akim Zulu, the secretary of the association, said: “When things happened, we had a meeting early in the morning and we decided to stay at Bambanani (mall) to stop community members from looting as there were some who wanted to go back to loot.

“We managed to get some information from residents, saying they saw some people running into the community from the mall. We then decided to a do door-to-door search to recover the items.”

SUPPORT FOR FARMERS: The Southern African Agri Initiative said on Wednesday it will do everything it can to support families on their farms who are in distress, have to flee or are in danger of sustaining damages as a result of protests and looting.

Farmers have also been encouraged to remain in constant contact with each other and their organised agricultural structures, report incidents and keep their farms, families and workers safe.

FUEL SHORTAGES: The announcement by SAPREF, South Africa’s largest fuel refinery, that it has suspended its operations due to force majeure will undoubtedly impact the already critical fuel situation in South Africa, and particularly in our inland provinces, the DA said in a statement.

’’This will create an increased demand for imported refined fuel, which will then need to be transported to the inland provinces – in all likelihood through the Transnet pipeline from Durban to Gauteng. Given that this pipeline crosses through some of the most contested terrain in terms of rioting and looting, and has in the past been the subject of numerous incidents of theft, it seems likely that this too will soon be closed.

’’Unless and until South Africa’s security situation normalises, this means that there are likely to be fuel shortages in the short to medium term, especially in Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.’’

MILK GOING TO WASTE: A dairy farmer in the Ixopo area of KwaZulu-Natal told a news website he had to throw away 28 000 litres of milk worth R160 000 because the transport company said it cannot risk its trucks on the roads.

HOSPITAL NETWORK REELING: The National Hospital Network (NHN), which represents 241 hospitals located in previously disadvantaged areas, said in a statement on Wednesday the impact of the looting and destruction is having dire consequences on hospitals and related healthcare services.

It is experiencing dire staff shortages, as staff cannot leave their places of residence or return safely after shifts and food supplies are running out at some hospitals.

The Melomed Richards Bay Hospital has lost communications capabilities due to their fibre lines being destroyed. The NHN has called on the government to provide on-site security to hospitals and to provide transportation escorts by SAPS/SANDF for oxygen and other medical supplies

The NHN is deeply concerned at the slow pace in getting the situation under control, saying the ’’collateral damage is simply unimaginable’’.

CAPITEC CONCERN: ’’We are seriously concerned about the situation and its impact on our clients, employees, society, and economy,’’ Capitec said in a statement.

’’Over 300 of our branches and ATMs are currently closed because of the unrest. ATMs in affected areas will not be supplied with cash or accept deposits until it is safe to do so. The safety of our clients and employees remains our top priority.’’

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to ’’urgently’’ declare a state of emergency in KwaZulu-Natal as unrest spirals “out of control”. The chamber said businesses were still being looted and set alight.

African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has condemned the ongoing unrest and surge of violence which has left numerous people dead in South Africa, and called for an urgent restoration of peace and order in Africa’s economic powerhouse.

The African Union has warned that instability in South Africa will inevitably have a negative impact on the Southern Africa Development Community as a region.

Today at 10am, DA justice and constitutional development spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach will lay criminal charges against Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, Edward Zuma, Duduzane Zuma and EFF leader Julius Malema for incitement of violence.

The ongoing violence and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has claimed 72 lives so far. With mobs attacking malls, shops, small businesses, depots, roadside stalls and trucks, the number of arrests has risen to 1 234.

The government says the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will oppose bail for those arrested for public violence and economic sabotage. The NPA was putting together special teams of prosecutors.

ActionSA president Herman Mashaba will brief the media and the South African people at 11am today on its plan to institute legal action to aid South Africans affected by the spate of looting and violence in Gauteng and KZN.

Thulani Dlomo, the former head of the spy agency’s controversial Special Operations Unit, has been identified as one of the 12 people being investigated for fomenting violent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal following the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, a news website reported.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in Tshwane has directed all taxi associations in the region to “go out in full force” to protect all shopping malls in the city against the widespread looting and vandalism that has left a trail of destruction.

In the midst of all the mayhem after uprisings hit the country, South Africans have been putting up their hands to help. In a Facebook group, RebuildSA – Volunteers Group, hundreds of ordinary South Africans from cleaners to builders have been asking this one question: How can I help? The group is about volunteers coming together to help businesses affected by the recent riots.

Cash-in-transit companies are stopping the collection and delivery of money to businesses and ATMs amid the looting which saw banks and ATMs broken into. This could trigger a devastating cash crisis, with essential goods also running out in certain areas due to the looting.

G4S, among others, announced that because of the volatile situation, it had “scaled back” cash collection and delivery services in affected areas in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Residents from Birch Acres in Tembisa banded together with the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department to protect their community from looters. “We are here to protect what is ours,” said community members, a news website reported.

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