South Africa deploys military as deadly riots continue

South Africa deploys military as deadly riots continue
AP Photo/Themba Hadebe
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Riots in South Africa, which began over the past week, continue unabated. As previously reported by Rebel News, the riots began when socialist operatives objected to the conviction of former left-wing president Jacob Zuma.

Widespread violence rocked the country, beginning in Johannesburg and Durban, then spreading to cities across the country over the weekend. Looters, having ransacked many commercial properties, have turned their violence toward residential neighbourhoods mainly populated by whites and Indians.

“Parts of the country are reeling from several days and nights of public violence, destruction of property, and looting of the sort rarely seen before in the history of our democracy,” South African President Cyril Ramphosa said in a message to the nation on Monday. “It started with the burning of trucks … in KwaZulu-Natal this past Saturday and was followed by blockades of roads in the northern parts of the province and the looting of shops.”

The rioters have stopped traffic, with ambulances being pelted with stones as rescue workers attempted to care for the victims of the riots and those suffering from everyday illnesses. One representative for the ambulance company stated, There is no access to medical treatment for these sick patients.”

Johannesburg’s Hillbrow Clinic was attacked as rioters entered inside the clinic and proceeded to attack one another. “We were in war mode,” said Dr. Suhayl Essa, who was treating victims of the violence, including a six-year-old who had been shot in the head. He added that the scenes that day gave him a “glimpse into Hell.” As of Tuesday, 72 people have been killed, with 10 of them being crushed to death as looters rushed into the Ndofaya shopping mall in Soweto.

Police forces have been overwhelmed with the rioting, with potential victims banding together to defend themselves with firearms. As reported by the Daily Wire:

The riots are believed to have been instigated by devotees of Jacob Zuma, a self-described socialist who served as South African president from 2009 to 2018. Zuma faces 16 counts of fraud, money laundering, and racketeering for being part of a multibillion-dollar embezzlement scheme during his time as president.

At times, Zuma has positioned himself to the left of the South African Communist Party. “Former president Jacob Zuma has taken a swipe at the SACP, accusing it of losing sight of its mission to fight for socialism,” reported South Africa’s TimesLIVE news service last May. In a 2012 address to the Socialist International, Zuma lamented the fact that “many amongst the broad global left have … abandoned left[ist] projects and ideas after the collapse of the many socialist countries which included the Soviet Union.”

Riots erupted shortly after Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court after he refused to testify at his corruption trial. The nation’s intelligence service is currently investigating the extent to which Zuma loyalists initiated the violence in KwaZulu-Natal Province, the greatest source of Zuma’s political strength. The leader of the ANC’s Youth League once proclaimed he was “willing to kill for Zuma.”

South African President Cyril Ramphosa has faced criticism for his meek response to the violence. Ramphosa deployed only 2,500 members of the nation’s military, the South African National Defence Force, to face the riots, despite deploying 70,000 troops last year to enforce COVID-19 lockdowns.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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