The protest and the looting rages on as the numbers soar

Free Zuma Protests

Dylan Bettencourt

Thirty people have reportedly lost their lives thus far in the ongoing protests that continue to plague KZN and Gauteng.

According to the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) as of Monday 12 July, more than 750 suspects have been arrested for their role in the violent looting that has become the main feature of the protests to free Jacob Zuma from his 15-month jail sentence. 

A total of 2,500 South African Defence Force (SANDF) troops have been deployed in what has been titled ‘Operation Prosper’. 

KZN premier Sihle Zikalala said the army presence will be heavy in the province.

“SANDF will be all over KZN. They will work at national key points, ports and main roads. They will help health facilities, in economic sectors and areas of violence,” he said. 

He thanked the police for working extra hours and those who have returned from their leave to help contain the looting. 

In the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, 76,000 troops were sent into the field to enforce lockdown regulations. If the looting and violence continues to be uncontrollable, a similar number of troops could soon be on the streets of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. 

The use of SANDF troops followed a meeting of security clusters in several wards. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that troops are being deployed was coordinated with SANDF as well as several other law enforcement agencies. The SANDF is in support of SAPS in managing the destructive protests.

As several shopping malls and businesses continue to be set on fire and looted of their stock in protest for the release of recently jailed Jacob Zuma, Zikalala said there is nothing wrong with their protests as long as they remain lawful and do not harm innocent civilians. 

Image source: @BusinessLIVE