The military has been summoned to help quell the growing unrest that has gripped Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
As looting and violence continued on Monday, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) confirmed – following a request from National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) – that it would start pre-deployment processes to assist law enforcement at scenes of riots.
“The duration and number of deploying soldiers will be determined based on the assessment of the situation on the ground by the relevant law enforcement agencies,” the SANDF said in a statement.
“Furthermore, it must be emphasised that the SANDF’s deployment objective is to provide safety and a safe working environment for members of the South African Police Service and other law enforcement agencies while they carry out their constitutionally mandated law and order duties.”
The civil unrest has ramped up over the weeked. Initially believed to have been started by supporters of former president Jacob Zuma who were angered by his incarceration, the protests have spread across the country and have taken the form of indiscriminate vandalism and looting. Zuma began a 15-month sentence last week after he was found in contempt of a Constitutional Court order.
The court is currently sitting to hear a bid by Zuma to have his sentence reviewed.
As of Monday morning, Natjoints reported that 219 arrests had been made and six people had died.