Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

South Africans call for state of emergency to stop riots

Published on: 14 July, 2021
People throw stones at police in Katlehong east of Johannesburg [Themba Hadebe/AP]

People throw stones at police in Katlehong east of Johannesburg [Themba Hadebe/AP]

In the midst of ongoing violence in South Africa triggered by the imprisonment of former South African President Jacob Zuma many South Africans have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a state of emergency.

The calls are being led by former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikholi. After four days of widespread civil unrest and looting many South Africans believe that a state of emergency will be the most effective way of stopping the violence.

Pikoli made the call just hours after Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the government would consider instituting a state of emergency if it deemed it necessary to quell violent protests and looting in the provinces of Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal.

Speaking to News24 Pikoli said: ‘Very soon we will be faced with food and fuel shortages in certain areas which will lead to further civil unrest. The economy is being destroyed. The infrastructure is equally destroyed and there are already 45 people who have died.’

Late on Tuesday the South African police said that 72 people had lost their lives and 1,234 had been arrested over the last few days as protests descended into looting and riots.

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry has supported the call for a state of emergency.

Tens of thousands of South Africans have signed a petition on social media calling for a state of emergency.

Describing the current state of chaos a commentator, Des Erasmus, wrote: ‘Kwa-Zulu Natal’s manufacturing sector has been obliterated. Its retail sector is dead. Hospitals are under protection; medicine cannot be sourced; pharmacies have had their shelves stripped.’

Police officers detain protestors [Reuters]