KwaZulu-Natal has asked the national government to declare a state of disaster in the province following the unrest and mass looting which resulted in the loss of life and widespread destruction.

The protests began as a show of support for the release from prison of former President Jacob Zuma, who is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court. But it escalated into riots, leaving 250 people dead.

The unrest sent the province and its economy into a tailspin and the situation reached unprecedented levels of instability.

The loss to government infrastructure, estimated at R1.5 billion, has forced the province to approach the national disaster management centre for drastic intervention.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says, “The move to declare a state of disaster will reprioritise the repairing of infrastructure that was destroyed in the province.”

Zikalala says the provincial government is also busy with efforts to strengthen reconciliation and social cohesion between the different race groups in the province.

Recent looting in townships exposes challenges facing organised black business formations:

Meanwhile, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry has loaned vehicles to the South African National Defence Force.

The army was deployed in the province to help quell the unrest.

The chamber’s Gladwin Malishe says, “The show of support by the business to the SANDF and is a vote of confidence to the economy.”

Business and industry, who’ve suffered billions of rands in damage, are supporting government’s plans to help re-build the provincial economy.