Six people have reportedly lost their lives in South Africa as the country’s army moved to quell the protest that since rocked the city over the imprisonment of former president, Jacob Zuma.
Four days after the protest that has seen destruction of government and private properties, Pretoria began deploying troops on the streets of several South African cities to bring the situation under control.
The demonstrations sparked by the detention of former President Jacob Zuma are also being driven by massive unemployment and economic malaise caused by COVID-19 lockdowns.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa in a national address on Monday evening, said that the protests would soon lead to shortages in food and medicine if they didn’t stop, and had already interrupted the country’s vaccination programme at a time the government is attempting to ramp up the pace of shots.
The South African military on Monday announced that it would begin putting troops on the streets of several major cities, including the legislative capital of Johannesburg and the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, after mass protests brought fires, looting, and several deaths from gunshot wounds.
“The South African National Defence Force has commenced with pre-deployment processes and procedures in line with a request for assistance receive to assist law enforcement agencies deployed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces respectively to halt the unrest that has gripped both Provinces in the last few days.
The size and duration of the deployment will be determined “according to the assessment of the situation,” noting their missions will be “to provide security and a safe working environment for law enforcement agencies” to do their job.