South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has informed Parliament’s Joint Committee on Defence that preparations are currently underway to deploy 25,000 additional South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers.
The additional soldiers will seek to bolster ongoing efforts in quelling and calming the violence, looting and unrest that has gripped the country over the last week – mostly focused in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng.
According to ENCA, Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni confirmed that there were 5000 soldiers currently active in the provinces, 2500 more than was originally being reported. This will bring the total number of SANDF soldiers on the ground to 30,000 troops*.
Army reserves have also been instructed to report for duty.
Both KZN and Gauteng had been thrown into turmoil since the previous weekend when former President Jacob Zuma was jailed for being found in contempt of court. A combination of Zuma’s arrest, Zuma-sympathising instigators and poverty and inequality frustrations reaching their boiling point, all led to a weeklong spree of rioting and looting with damages expected in the billions of dollars.
72 people lost their lives in the ongoing unrest, with law enforcement arresting over 1000 people found in connection to the violence.
Ntshavheni has urged South Africans to continue to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement instead of taking the law into their own hands. Vigilantism has become rife in KZN and Gauteng, as armed community members and taxi coalitions have turned on looters to protect the remaining infrastructure.
Though as news comes in of communities cleaning up after the violence, and smoke finally clearing from the initial onslaught, the additional soldiers will most likely be used for peacekeeping operations to ensure that no new bouts of rioting and looting spring up, at least in Gauteng.
— Chriselda 'Babes We Ndaba' Lewis (@Chriseldalewis) July 15, 2021
— Sli Masikane (@Sli_Masikane) July 15, 2021
Samsung, LG and Other Firms Face The Brunt of SA’s Unrest
Samsung has reportedly been significantly impacted by the ongoing unrest in KZN, with the company’s warehouse in KZN pillaged. However, the Samsung plant in Durban has managed to remain untouched.
LG electronics saw the greatest damage out of the Korean firms in South Africa. The LG TV manufacturing facility in Cornubia Industrial Park in Durban has been burnt down, with its warehouses filled with TVs looted.
*UPDATE: It was originally reported that 25,000 additional troops would be deployed with 5000 already deployed. However, now it seems that 25,000 will be the total number of SANDF soldiers deployed.