Anarchy has ruled across large parts of the KZN province, as protests in the name of Jacob Zuma begin to spread into Free State and Gauteng. The demonstrators, who have taken to burning tyres, blocking roads, and looting stores, want the former president released from jail – but could their actions result in a local SANDF deployment?

Will SANDF be deployed to KZN?

The army was given the go-ahead to patrol South Africa’s streets during the first lockdown of 2020. There were plenty of controversies that emerged, but the additional presence of thousands of soldiers helped the police force implement unprecedented measures. As KZN now bears the brunt of lawlessness, calls for SANDF intervention have intensified.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has told the media she has been evaluating the situation, and concluded that this is ‘not the right time’ to send soldiers into the province. She reasons that the current wave of protests, though disruptive, still do not fall under the remit of SANDF and its core responsibilities.

“The army has not been deployed to KZN. That is not the responsibility of the SANDF. I don’t think we have reached a point where SANDF should be dragged into what is happening. All of us South Africans should condemn that violence. And right now you are seeing the food, goods which are being delivered to other parts of the country being burnt.”

Arrests made following Jacob Zuma protests

In a statement, police said at least 27 suspects have been apprehended for the ongoing #FreeJacobZuma sporadic protests in different parts of KZN this weekend – and that number is expected to grow over the coming days.

To this end, 27 suspects have been arrested since yesterday on various charges that include: public violence, business burglary, malicious damage to property, and contravention of the DMA lockdown regulations.

This comes after an unconfirmed number of trucks were torched and looting of several businesses in the Mooi River CBD. Efforts are afoot to track and trace more suspects.” | SAPS statement

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Presh JM Reporter

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