SANDF to be deployed to violence stricken KwaZulu-Natal

Following an appeal from the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the wake of looting of retail stores and violent demonstrations.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) confirmed on Monday that it has commenced with ‘pre-deployment processes’ to send forces into violence-stricken KwaZulu-Natal, and also into Gauteng as a pre-emptive measure as protests have spread to Johannesburg – South Africa’s economic hub.

This follows an urgent appeal by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (and other sectors) on Sunday night, which called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to deploy the SANDF in KwaZulu-Natal and declare the province to be in a “state of disaster” to curb the looting and violent demonstration in several parts of the region.

Initial violent protests on Friday morning, that included the burning of tyres and blocking major roads in Durban, were linked to the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma.

However, this has escalated to criminal activity with dozens of incidents of looting and destruction to property in the city and other parts of KZN.

The SANDF said that the request for assistance came from “the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure [Natjoints] to assist law enforcement agencies deployed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal to quell the unrest that has gripped both provinces in the last few days”.

It added: “The deployment will commence as soon as all deployment processes are in place… 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.”

JSE-listed retailers Shoprite, Spar, Massmart (Makro Sprinfield) and Pick n Pay stores were among those targeted by looters.

On Monday, the landlords of several major malls in the province decided to keep centres closed amid increasing safety concerns. Old Mutual’s Gateway Theater of Shopping, Growthpoint’s La Lucia Mall, Investec’s Cornubia Mall, Pareto’s The Pavilion and Liberty Two Degree’s Liberty Midlands Mall were all closed.

A competing but smaller community shopping centre near Liberty Midlands Mall along the N3 in Pietermarziburg was also set alight, according to local newspaper reports and visuals on social media.

Source: Make SA Safe, Facebook

Over the weekend, sporadic incidents of similar violent protests and looting were also reported in the Johannesburg CBD.

Read: Pro-Zuma protests spread to Johannesburg

There have also been reports of trucks and other vehicles being set alight in KZN. This saw the eThekwini Municipality announce late on Sunday night that its municipal bus service will suspend operations on Monday as a precautionary measure. Taxi associations also suspended transport services in the province on Monday.

Whilst we have noted the rapid responses by law enforcement, we call for further deployment,” Durban Chamber president Nigel Ward said in the latest statement.

“We are calling on our president to declare our province a state of disaster and deploy SANDF to come and assist,” he added.

“KwaZulu-Natal cannot afford for this disruptive behaviour to continue into the new week. The economic consequences will be detrimental and the impact on the economy will undoubtedly impact the country’s risk profile.”

Read: Is this Ramaphosa’s most decisive economic decision since taking office?

Ward is executive vice president for manufacturing of Toyota South Africa (which has its plant in KZN), while the Durban Chamber is South Africa’s largest metropolitan business chamber.

“The recent protests have had a devastating impact on businesses, from Friday morning the traffic disruptions made it difficult for employees to commute to work with some businesses having to shut down their operations completely to minimise risk,” he said.

“This disruptive activity is damaging to the economic infrastructure, the threat on food security should be taken very seriously.

“Producers of essential foods have now decided to temporarily shutdown. Their onsite factories have had to stop production, due to the non-movement of stock, from Friday. This has had an impact on job security and livelihoods; as workers will have to stay home, be placed on short time or even retrenched,” he added.

Ward warned that if violent protests continue, with the burning of trucks and forced stoppages to factories operating, this would risk food supply and put further pressure on various industries.

Durban and KZN is home to several major manufactures in including Unilever, RCL Foods and Willowton Group, amongst others. In addition more than 60% of SA’s imports and export come through the port of Durban, with the N3 highway being the country’s most important national road as it connects to the economic hub of Gauteng.

“The logistics sector as it stands has been hit severely hard. The number of trucks that have been burned over the past two-days, have caused other business owners in the industry to decide to ground their trucks, for the safety of their employees and the protection of their businesses,” Ward pointed out.

“The situation is intensifying, many major routes continue to be high-risk zones threatening the flow of traffic and lives.

“Furthermore, we strongly condemn the violent attacks that have been made on shopping centres and major retailers. We have received several reports in our city and province of several retailers that have been attacked. Such behaviour is deemed a criminal offence and undermines the rule of law,” he said.

President Ramaphosa also condemned the violence during his address to the nation around the extension of Level 4 Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday night, saying that over 60 people have been arrested.

Read: SA extends tight Covid restrictions

“While there are those who may be hurt and angry at this moment, there can never be any justification for such violent, destructive and disruptive actions … It is a matter of concern to all South Africans that some of these acts of violence are based on ethnic mobilisation,” he said.

Ramaphosa reiterated that the culprits would face the full might of the law and would be arrested and prosecuted.

Both the president and eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda have called for calm.



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Why should it be so ‘unpopular’ when a government enforce law and order, or when the authorities handle protesters with an appropriate level of force.

When someone throw tennis balls at you – you respond with rubber bullets. When they throw stones – you use real bullets.

Absurdly childish comment actually, who exactly is going to do the shooting? Zulus going to shoot thier own people? SAPS have been almost completely MIA in KZN the weekend. You’ll dont understand tribalism.

so you are implying…..we are ffffh..stuffed!

I’m not saying “shoot the lot”. I’m saying that the authorities must be able to use an appropriate level of force as dictated by the attackers – without fear of public outcry. In Marikana the SAPS were very professional, but got into so much trouble – while common law dictate police to use deadly force when being stormed by a crowd wielding deadly weapons.

This what the ANC instilled into their supporter base and is now part of the culture that is inherent to them.
How else do you think they came into power?

At this time however the looting and damage is being blamed on “third parties”. Sound familiar?

….I know….its that guy again, Old Jan van Riebeek.

The findings and recommendations after Marikana emasculated the police force and make them unable to enforce law and order.
They must now negotiate with people who are out to pillage and even threaten to kill?
I would also then remain on the side lines, say “eish” and talk about what mess it was.

Looting is what Zuma and his supporters do best.

This is the problem when the President is spineless and ineffective. Zuma is running and ruining the country from his jail cell. How embarrassing for Cyril and the ANC. They have lost control and respect of the people.

The President isn’t spineless, he just plays a long, long game.

The thugs have nothing to lose and open warfare would give them a purpose. I reckon most of them are unemployed and have been looking for an opportunity for ages to cause trouble.

The response needs to be measured but direct. The rule of law must prevail.

we don’t have a looong, looong time STS.

Pres. Ramaphosa is definitely not spineless.

He is the best person to return S.A to normality.

Remember that he is in some instances dealing with proper gangsters.

Jip — He has to deal with himself every day ne.

Why bother??

Besides the fact that he is asleep at the wheel this is what the anc and its current and especially zuma promised their voters. “Utopia” where everything is free and the police protect the criminals. (Oops sorry. Distinguished Citizens)

Well the previously disadvantaged got what they wanted. What they think is free stuff. Their children and many generations to come will now have to pay for this “Utopia”. The payment will most probably be in the form of staying disadvantaged for centuries to come and living in a hellhole their parents created.

The plus side is the anc is actually delivering something for a change.

Conflict of Interest…. How can the President Ramaphosa (ANC) … send the army (ANC) … on its voters / looters (ANC)


He will delay till the country is burnt to the ground!

to be honest…what difference will the SANDF make anyway???

…the (current) SANDF is a zero on a contract. If they now have to lead an assault on Cassinga (circa 1978, Angola), the Swapo women and children would chase the SANDF with sticks and cooking pots!

And the Rand remains at 14. For how much longer?

Heading for the crapper as we speak….hopefully monotonically

Declare martial law and sort this mess out early.
Charge everyone for incitement and introduce emergency legislation-10 years no parole for incitement, looting or theft in KZN

Where are all the “Ramaphoria” people who where cheering putting Jacob Zuma in prison, giving money to Cyrils campaign and celebrating the “New dawn”? Totally out of touch with reality in your gated communities with your foreign citizenships. Call out the military!!!??? How eurocentric of you. Who says the military even backs Cyril? You guys dont understand your own country.

Best to get UN peacekeepers. Like UNTAG. Remember??

They can keep peace while a government of national unity is created.

More experienced SADC countries can then come and show this lot how to deal with this criminal behavior. Countries like DRC, Mozambique etc. From the North of the continent Libya might be able to share a few ideas as well.

The clever ones stole food and not TV’s. They are going to be very hungry soon.

@CTExec. Tend to agree with you. Soon Zuma will be out of prison (and Ace will be president). We possibly have a potential Cuopd’etat on hand.

@Mmmm. How I like to agree with you, but if a UN Peacekeeping force is heading for SA….it means SA is already in a CIVIL WAR scenario. Or the ANC breaking up. And you & I are in it.


The violence at Mooi River plaza has been happening for years and the miscreants have been getting away with it.

Buy popcorn – Movie will get interesting !!

Nothing new here. This has been the narative in this region for the last 200 years. A force of 1500 men lost against the brave and well-trained Zulu warriors at the battle of Isindwalana, while later that same day a much smaller force of 120 Brittish soldiers stood their ground and emerged victorious at Rorke’s Drift against the same enemy.

Strategy is the only difference. In Africa, if you do not have a proven strategy, your assets belong to the natives.

your analogy is spot on as usual, Senseisan. Plus: Chelmsford was warned about forming laagers when scouts spotted the impis before he entered into the campaign. He chose to ignore the advice. The same is true in SA today. The government chooses to ignore the red lights flashing in the country on some many different levels. There are none as deaf as those who choose not to hear. Look around you and you know you need a strategy to ensure you and your family survive (not just physically). Read the signs.Same old same old is not going to cut it in South Africa any longer (btw one of the VC’s awarded after Rorke’s Drift went to a Swiss citizen, Christian Schies).

Time for a state of emergency, hard lockdown and full curfew.

CR should have implemented this last night…..just show in what state the states intelligence security are in!

This state and intelligence are 2 mutually exclusive and incompatible.

The voters loot by breaking into shops. Their leaders loot by way of EFT payments during corrupt tenders. Same same. The one kind of looting just makes for better YouTube videos

Attributing the release of this pent up frustration on Zuma is giving him way more power than he has. To think he has a national command council at his fingertips initiating attacks on his direct instructions would be beyond schizophrenic in the realm of super-paranoid.

This is a recipe for poor decision making.

The eruption of violence mirrors the dissent shown pre 2008 when the Xenophobic attacks broke out in places like Alexandria township. That was when Zuma was facing potential jail time over the arms deal (which would have stopped him ever serving as President).

The prong of the initial wave of attacks is against perceived foreign people who have “taken” local jobs… a nationalist thread of nonsense spreading like wildfire again.

The underlying cause, which is essentially a form of prejudice, is a baseline raw African nationalism that fuels an array of prejudices such as racism, gay-bashing and masochism (et al).

Like Trumpism in the States, this can be labelled Zumaism here but actually it represents a thread deep rooted amongst a too-large portion of our population- it is nationalism in its many forms be that Afrikander or African-er…..

The only cure is education and we have failed in this respect for almost a millenium. Thanks to the current gross over reaction to a SARS variant virus, the failure continues.

The other “cure”, as witnessed in 2 world wars, is epic death on a scale beyond what any humane person would wish upon anything.

So- back to school, back to work opening the doors of continuous learning- is now quintessential.

You make some very interesting and thought-provoking points. I propose that education is wasted upon the demographics. A tailor-made and well-orchestrated propaganda campaign is not that far removed from state education but will have a better effect over the short term. It is the WMC, apartheid, victimhood, and RET narratives that brought us to this moment of social unrest. Education is ineffective to improve the lives of people who are at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you worry about where your next meal will come from, and whether you will have a roof over your head, and clothes to wear tomorrow, you are not receptive to education, especially if your SADTU teacher is a bad role model.

It is my view that job opportunities will lead to better outcomes in education. Economic growth will shift those at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy higher up in the stages of mental and psychological growth to unlock their human potential. Trumpism, Zumaism, and right-wing activism are merely political displays of insecure personality disorders. We find the poorer parts of society in these groups where they identify with and find pride in their victimhood.

Only economic growth can solve that problem and only neo-liberal, free-market policies can create economic growth.

Do the SANDF also want to get in on the looting? The embarrassment I feel when I see the scenes is extreme. The video of the police loading the police van with loot is an indictment on this country. A failed state in action.

Yet to hear any condemnation of the violence from the JZ Foundation and the arrogant Manye!!

Might have been a good idea if the frog boiler would take his attention away from frog boiling for a moment and stop the country being burned down by his ANC voters right under his butt.

These “protests” are thick with irony. Illegal and criminal acts being perpetrated in support of someone accused of criminal acts. Just highlights why the whole lot deserve to be behind bars.

Hope there’s beer left when the ban lifts

Government deploys the army because the police are too incompetent?

and soon a “civil army” will arise, because the SANDF is too incompetent 😉

alot of people connected to the looters will be jobless because of businesses closing.

What’s the possibility of a “Coup d’etat” happening, with Zuma’s allies within the SANDF?

(If so, me and my family, we will continue to pay our income tax…..for sure)

Time to leave Klerksdorp and move to Cape Town. The gentleman’s city of choice.

🙂 …. For a small consideration in gold coinage I am available to consult on the local real estate. Bitcoin not accepted.

@MoneyChief. Yeah yeah, ridicule us *lol* 😉

Our town in fact (surprisingly) still fairly quiet and peaceful today, like any other day. Not that many Zulu-supporters over here….mostly Sesotho. Too far inland from Durban.

(Used to grow up in Cape Town in 70’s/80s. Still the best province by far, but decay has been creeping in due to influx. How long will WC hold out? Best to declare as a break-away province 😉

We’ll one day try to “flee” to the West Coast, a place where no-one prefers to live. Dust and wind…..but peaceful at least.

”Violence is the repartee of the illiterate”

Alan Brien (1925/2008)

Our Tunisia moment has arrived – or hasn’t it?

If the ANC doesn’t start disciplining their core supporters (with the help of a ”state of emergency” in KZN and Gauteng) – they will soon find out what the ”colonists” were facing trying to quell the violence, before they left like ”Donald and Duck”

When the SA youth unemployment rate is the highest in the world, there will be a lot of bored, frustrated, hungry, young people with absolutely nothing to lose and looking for trouble. All that is needed is a economic event to stoke their sense of frustration and hopelessness and a match to set them off. A year and a half of sabotaging business by decree is the event and this time the match is Zuma. In 2008 it was foreigners.

eSwatini youth unemployment is also sky high, same thing going on there at the moment.

2500 troops to protect KZN? That is a joke.

End of comments.




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