News Flash #ShutdownSA: what is currently happening

The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) has now been deployed to assist the police to stop the civil unrest. However, destruction and violence continues. 


News Flash: How the #ShutdownSA is unfolding 

Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech

Just 24 hours after announcing an extension of the level four restrictions for a further two weeks, president Cyril Ramaphosa once more addressed South Africa. This time it was in response to the protests and destruction that had spread around KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng. Ramaphosa announced that in his capacity as the commander-in-chief of the SANDF, he had authorised the deployment of Defence Force personnel. The SANDF would be providing support to the South African Police Service (SAPS). 

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has called on authorities to ensure that security forces did not use unnecessary or excessive force against peaceful protesters. “It is crucial to remember that this is a law enforcement challenge, not a military situation..” said Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, ICJ’s Africa director.

Ramaphosa also said there is a danger that these events will lead to an even greater surge in infections and food and medical insecurity in the coming days. 

Social services

SASSA has suspended payments countrywide due to protest action in Gauteng and KZN. The Cash in Transit (CIT) industry informed SASSA they won’t provide cash deliveries to pay points until further notice. This is to ensure the safety of their delivery staff and SASSA beneficiaries. SASSA urges beneficiaries to make use of alternative pay points like bank ATMs. SASSA will communicate when payments at their pay points will resume in due course. 

The South African Post office  (SAPO) has closed some of its branches in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Northwest to ensure safety. An announcement will be made later this week when these branches will reopen 

Metrorail Passenger train services suspended their operations in Gauteng on July 12. Metrorail will monitor the situation to determine when it is safe to resume services.

The South African National Taxi Alliance (SANTACO) and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) in KZN,have confirmed they will not be operating on July 12. The strategic transport route to the Port of Durban will remain closed to protect its operations and users. 


Even as Ramaphosa addressed the country, the destruction and violence continued. Community radio station, Alex FM was looted on Tuesday morning with property being managed and equipment stolen. 

Several malls in Soweto including Bara Mall and Diepkloof Mall were completely cleared out. Pharmacies were also looted. 

Meanwhile, in KwaZulu Natal, Makro and Game stores on Umgeni Road were the scenes of looting. 

Along with the reports of looting and destruction, there have been alleged reports of white and Indian people setting homes in informal settlements on fire. 

Security ministers

On Tuesday, ministers from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster addressed the media. They said: “The current situation on the ground is under strong surveillance and we will ensure that it does not deteriorate any further.” They also encouraged communities to not take the law into their own hands and to rather work with the police. 

Western Cape premier, Alan Winde held a special cabinet meeting with the provincial police commissioner, General Patekile, to discuss preparedness in the event of looting in the province. 

Winde has appealed to residents not to and spread #fakenews, as it fuels the unrest situation. He called for residents to remain calm, to reject violence and looting, and to respect the law. General Patekile says there is higher visibility in malls, CBDs and other hot spot areas. No looting incidents have been reported in the province today. Higher police visibility in malls and CBDs is part of the measures to have more safety on the street. Patekile said there have been arrests in terms of the illegal possession of firearms confiscated on the Cape Flats. 

This piece will be updated.

Featured image via Twitter