Operation Clean Up is underway in Durban. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency(ANA)
Operation Clean Up is underway in Durban. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency(ANA)

Calm restored to Gauteng, parts of KZN still unstable as analysts debate reasons for unrest

By Ntombi Nkosi Time of article published Jul 15, 2021

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Johannesburg – Looting and acts of violence appear to have died down in Gauteng compared to KwaZulu-Natal, where the unrest is still ongoing and racial tensions are simmering.

Citizens from all walks of life in Gauteng have been applauded for their efforts to clean up vandalised malls and shops.

Following a spate of rampant looting that gripped Gauteng, the clean-up operations by locals have been joined by political leaders, including MEC’s.

Gauteng Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Mbali Hlophe, together with artists, the Jewish Board of Deputies and various community organisations, participated in a clean-up campaign in Daveyton and at Mayfield Mall.

“The clean-up campaign went very well. The place has really turned around and got a facelift that it required, compared to when we got there. It was in a terrible state, and all the shops had been broken into. It is now clean.

“The community came in their numbers, but we couldn't clean inside the shops because of insurance and investigation purposes. Coming together to say let's hold hands and work together, so we rebuild this great nation,” said Hlophe.

She applauded all those that were involved in the cleaning up in the area and urged the same for people in other areas.

Other residents from Ekurhuleni and Soweto also embarked on a cleaning-up campaign.

Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said in his opinion the current spate of violence was triggered in KZN, which means the protagonist(s) would know how to exploit the tensions simmering there.

“Poor local leadership also exacerbates the problem in KZN. With Gauteng, local leadership, including community forums, were quite active in engaging communities to stop participating in the looting. There seem to be difficulties in local community leaders taking a position and engaging communities,” Mathekga said.

Another political analyst, Tessa Dooms, said whoever is mobilising has a stronger base and a stronger operation in KZN than in Gauteng.

“In Gauteng, many communities had external people come into their community and incite looting. Once those people were gone, the momentum died down. The community wasn't mobilising themselves. Whereas in KZN, it does seem like the mobilisers are also people who are part of those communities. Hence, it is sustainable.

“There are also racial tensions that flared up in KZN, which in itself, will keep the momentum going, because now you have the vigilantism element on top of the racially charged, and so there is much more impetus to continue some level of violence from different communities on different sides,” said Dooms.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo, commended the leadership of the taxi Industry in the province for taking a firm and decisive stance against acts of looting, destruction and criminality.

Political Bureau

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