Police Minister Bheki Cele says he’s confident that looting and violence will subside now that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been deployed to assist the police.
Soldiers are in Alexandra north of Johannesburg following running battles between police and protesters who looted many shops in the area.
Troops have also been deployed to other parts of Gauteng as well as KwaZulu-Natal.
Cele says the presence of the army will lessen the burden on police who have been criticised for not being able to control the looting in some parts of the country. Pan Mall has been destroyed and smaller surrounding shops ransacked.
Cele has expressed disappointment at the damage and says more law enforcement agencies are deployed in hotspots should more violence erupt.
Meanwhile, the army will be patrolling the streets throughout the night.
Smoke lingers in the air from the nearby buildings that have been torched by looters. Some shop owners have come back to see if there is anything left to salvage, but sadly nothing has been spared.
SA National Defence Force in Support of the SA Police Service | Soldiers deployed in Alexandra, Gauteng Province.
— SA National Defence Force (@SANDF_ZA) July 13, 2021
Number of shops looted and torched in Alexandra Township:
Meanwhile, the SANDF has appealed for the public to exercise caution amid protest action – saying soldiers will not tolerate violent demonstrations or acts of criminality.
President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the deployment of the SANDF to support the police in restoring order.
SANDF Spokesperson, Mafi Mgobhozi says, they will not tolerate any ill-discipline as the SANDF.
“We already have our soldiers on the ground in Gauteng and KZN. It’s 2500 but the Defence Force is doing all in its power to get more soldiers to deploy them. I can assure South Africans that the soldiers will behave but one thing I must say to the community is to please, we beg you not to provoke our members that are on the streets. We won’t tolerate any ill-discipline as the SANDF during this deployment.
Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi on SANDF deployment in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal: