S.Africa’s Ramaphosa to visit unrest hotspot region
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Friday visit KwaZulu-Natal province, the epicentre of deadly violence that has shaken the country over the past week, his office said.
outh African President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Friday visit KwaZulu-Natal province, the epicentre of deadly violence that has shaken the country over the past week, his office said.
He “will this morning, Friday, 16 July 2021, undertake an oversight visit to… KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), to assess the impact of recent public violence and the deployment of security forces,” the presidency said in a statement.
The visit is his first since violence erupted a week ago, after the graft-tainted ex-president Jacob Zuma — who commands support from some of the country’s poor — began a 15-month jail term for refusing to testify to a commission probing corruption under his tenure.
Mobs of people rampaged through shops and warehouses in KZN and Johannesburg in the worst violence since the end of apartheid.
At least 117 people have been killed in looting sprees and shootings, pushing Ramaphosa’s adminstration to the brink and forcing him to deploy 25,000 troops, the second largest military call-up in the history of democratic South Africa.
“The president will interact with the provincial government and security forces,” said his office.
Defence, security and police ministers and top army generals were already in KZN on Thursday to assess the situation and oversee the expanded deployment of security forces.
Although relative calm has returned to Johannesburg, the situation in KZN “remains volatile”, according to a minister in Ramaphosa’s office, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.