By Chris Faure for The Saker Blog
Waves of extreme violent anarchistic protest broke out and is ongoing in the two provinces Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal. Shopping malls and property are being set alight and burned down, looters rule the streets, roads are blockaded, cars and trucks are turned over and burned and in some scenes, one can clearly hear the bullets fly. At the last count around 200 major business district buildings were burning.
The pretext is former President Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment for failing to adhere to a Constitutional Court order to appear before the State Capture Commission. He was arrested and taken to jail.
On Friday morning, small scale protests broke out across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and by Saturday afternoon there was widespread instances of roads being blocked off, trucks burned, and property damage. Over the last two days, things have escalated dramatically with widespread riots and looting in several major cities in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The Zuma story is a long one of looting of the state coffers. We now observe roughly three factions, the ex-President Zuma faction, the current President Ramphosa faction and then the firebrand Julius Malema faction.
Soon the thin pretext of Zuma’s incarceration disappeared and for the last two days I’ve been watching the continual warning messages stream in of burning, looting, mayhem, burning vehicles and trucks in critical road junctions, more farms are burning and this half of the country is at a standstill with the South African Police unable to keep law and order.
‘Civilian patrols’ are taking charge as the violence, mayhem and looting continue. Several communities have blocked off the entrances to their towns and are keeping watch as the criminals riot, businesses are gutted, infrastructure is damaged and fields are burnt. Communities are even even hitting back by stopping vehicles loaded with looted goods and taking the goods back.
South Africans are now geared up for another night of mass rioting and looting.
As a reminder how we got here: Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, on the 29th of June, for contempt of court during an ongoing inquiry into high-level corruption spanning a decade. After a few days of suspense Jacob Zuma handed himself in to authorities on the 7th of July.
Zuma’s supporters, mostly Zulus, were unhappy and threatened to burn the country down if their leader was not released immediately. Zuma himself is an important figure in the Bantu Zulu tribe.
Side note: Why has there been no protests in Cape Town? Zulus mostly live in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, and Johannesburg, Gauteng. And unlike in KZN and Gauteng, the south west of the country has been crippled by a cold front with freezing temperatures and torrential flooding. (It is dead of winter in the Southern hemisphere).
The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has just addressed the nation with a mild speech asking for ‘saamstaan’, in other words please work together. Yet, as he addressed the nation, the anarchism continued unabated. At the time of his speech 10 people had died, six police officers had been injured and 489 people had been arrested in the unrest. (These numbers are clearly not accurate).
With increased police deployment announced by Ramaphosa and the assistance of the South African army, which truly only carries the name and is not a defense force, we may see a change of pace towards tomorrow. For better or for worse.
I do not see any impediments today for a full scale civil war. The other scenario is that rioters and looters get tired and go home, and some form of civil society continues although this state has lost its legitimacy. Julius Malema is trying to gin up a war, but his own soldiers told him that this time they are not acting as soldiers, and to take his mother and grandmother to his war.
We are not ready as fighters this time. Take your wife and kids. pic.twitter.com/R2BdyWZkmL
— Mr X (@KhosaXikombiso) July 12, 2021
At the time of writing, the situation reports and videos from various areas are still streaming in.