The protests in South African – that initially began in support of former President Jacob Zuma, incarcerated and accused of obstructing a judicial enquiry into alleged corruption during his term (head of state from 2009 to 2018) – rapidly evolved into riots, looting and vigilante violence (Crisis Group weekly update). The army has been deployed to restore peace and order. In Phoenix, near Durban, cases of “racial tensions” have been reported. The damages are significant and the local people did not wait on the authorities to start cleaning up. On Twitter, two hashtags have been massively used (#CleanUpSa and #ProtectSouthAfrica) and further relayed by the twitter account of South Africa Presidency to support local communities acting to protect key economic infrastructures (such as local malls, business and properties).
On July 16, 2021 the President Cyril Ramaphosa gave an update on the security situation in the country, in which he described the events as a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on the constitutional order of South Africa. He authorized the deployment of 25,000 soldiers to stabilise the country, to secure essential supplies and infrastructures (as well as the transportation of goods). On July 19, 2021 Zuma’s trial has resumed.
For CD4Peace this situation demonstrates the crucial need of ensuring strong social cohesion and respect for cultural diversity. CD4Peace recommends the recovery to be based on local communities and on the liberty of local people as illustrate the various examples of local solidarity and actions.