As social unrest nears the 7th day in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, the South African Army Reserve has ordered “all Reserve Members” for duty on Thursday morning.
“As directed by Chief of the South African Army, Lieutenant General Lawrence Khulekani Mbatha all Reserve Members are to report for duty at First Light tomorrow morning 15 July 2021 at their respective units,” the statement read.
Here’s the complete media statement:
The statement wasn’t clear how many reserves the army has but a Wikipedia entry on the “South African Army” estimates around “12,300 reserve force personnel.”
Vigilante groups and armed community members patrol Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the two provinces hit hard by the social unrest in South Africa. The country could become a failed state as the police and military have yet to quell the violence.
— Kidron (@Kidron777) July 14, 2021
Social unrest raged in South Africa for nearly a week as food, fuel, and ammo shortages materialized. Farming, manufacturing, and oil refining have gone offline in certain regions as the worst unrest in decades continues.
President Cyril Ramaphosa released a statement Wednesday that deployment of the military will expand. Political leaders have requested the president to put more boots on the ground as local police forces are overwhelmed. In some areas, police have looted businesses themselves as the country descends into what could be a failed state.
“President Ramaphosa welcomed proposals made by political leaders and said expanded deployment of the South African National Defence Force was being addressed,” according to a statement from the president.
According to the “Unrest Map” via PolicyLab, the unrest unfolds in two provinces, Gauteng and Durban.
Many rioters have crushed massive supply chains and transport networks in Johannesburg and the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Port of Durban, the fourth-largest container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere, has been impacted by the looting. Reuters reports looters have hit Durban warehouses and other news outlets say the port area has come to a standstill.
“Sadly, South Africa is on its knees. Entire communities have been razed, but more significantly – at least for those trying to calculate what the future might hold – the violence has targeted vital nodes of distribution: logistics capacity in Mooi River; local food and dry good stores throughout eThekwini; large malls and warehouse facilities along the coastline and up into Pietermaritzburg,” local newspaper Daily Maverick said.
Here are more visuals South Africa may be descending into further chaos.
‘The Context’ – #KierranAllen was documenting the looting in KZN and took 5 minutes to share what he saw with us. This part 1 of a 2 part story. #documinute #documentaryfilm #unitesouthafrica #rebuildsouthafrica #southafricaisburning #zumariots #looting #southafrica #durban pic.twitter.com/Z3ZvokV9R0
— Documinute (@Documinute_SA) July 14, 2021
South Africa: Electricity power plant in south of Durban reportedly set on fire. pic.twitter.com/CQvQMYUp15
— Mr. Wolf (@mole_cola) July 14, 2021
More looting of malls.
Durban South Africa is on FIRE!
People can be worse than Animals!
Feel for all those people trying to make it, only to be ruined by absolute SCUM! pic.twitter.com/5rOQ62nXVk
— Billy Meredith (@pert_brian) July 14, 2021
More warehouses lit on fire.
South Africa, today.
The Value Warehouse is on fire at Cato Ridge pic.twitter.com/X6vtNZJhpm
— Gefira Foundation (@Gefira_org) July 14, 2021
YouTuber “Paratus” describes ‘citizen militias’ are guarding communities as the police and government have failed the citizens.
Gunshots are heard in KwaZulu-Natal.
gunshots in KZN pic.twitter.com/Ql6U4hf72M
— pine_tree_riots (@pine_tree_riots) July 14, 2021
All of this suggests the South African government should expand domestic military operations to quell unrest or risk spreading to other provinces by the weekend.
South Africa could be on the verge of collapse, and all the warning signs are there. The looters have targeted foreign shops, shopping centers, distribution centers/warehouses, and raided gun shops. Shortages are emerging in food, fuel, and ammo.
Over 70 have reportedly been killed since social unrest began last week after ex-president Jacob Zuma was jailed for failing to appear at a corruption inquiry. Supporters of Zuma, the nation’s first Zulu president, have been on a looting spree that has crippled KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Johannesburg and disrupted national supply routes, resulting in food and fuel shortages in the affected area.
According to the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, more than 600 stores have been looted with hundreds millions of dollars in damage.
President Cyril Ramaphosa deployed the military to quell the unrest, but nothing has worked so far worked.
Civilians are defending their own communities and running low on food, fuel, and ammo; supply chains are destroyed, and it wasn’t quick, about a week, as the country faces collapse.
On Tuesday, Sapref refinery near Durban, operated by Shell and BP, had shuttered operations due to civil unrest.
There’s also news that the country’s top chicken and meat processor, Rainbow Chickens Ltd., was raided by looters, which means widespread food shortages could be imminent.
Allegedly, some security firms are reporting police are “low on ammunition.”
some comms from security groups.
— pine_tree_riots (@pine_tree_riots) July 13, 2021
Supposedly from a security group, looters are targeting all the gun shops.
— pine_tree_riots (@pine_tree_riots) July 13, 2021
Community members have set up private patrols to defend their community from rioters.
Someone explains that the unrest from Zulu rioters is to starve out the “Whites/Indians.” The unknown person said this could be “civil war.”
More scenes of the chaos.
📹| Violent scenes in South Africa
▪️Deadly unrest continues to spread across the country.#SouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/ix7xU4Vm0n
— EHA News (@eha_news) July 14, 2021
Even the police are looting.
One Twitter user said, “crumbling economy – KwaZulu-Natal – Durban total destruction after mobs in the thousands descended on Nandi Drive looting destroying and burning factories warehouses private businesses shops vehicles.”
Footage of private residences being petrol bombed by rioters.
Massive manufacturing facility on fire. This was one of many set on fire this week.
More destruction of warehouses.