Cape Town – The SA National Blood Service (SANBS) has condemned the vandalism and looting at one of its centres in Durban – at the same time as President Cyril Ramaphosa was trying to reassure South Africans last night that order would be restored by deploying the SANDF after days of looting and violence.
What made it worse was that the live footage of the SANBS being broken into was captured on the screen while a completely oblivious Ramaphosa was speaking.
“While we were watching President Ramaphosa addressing the nation on TV, we saw people coming to our donor centre in Queensmead Mall in Durban.
“They broke in and took some valuables,” regional marketing manager at the SA National Blood Service Simphiwe Cele told a news website.
“People are going to be scared to visit our centre. We have been struggling to collect blood because of Covid-19 and this looting is amplifying our challenges,” Cele said.
'’We call for calm and remind everyone of the importance of working together to ensure that we save lives,” the SANBS posted on Twitter last night.
Political parties have criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa for his ’’hollow words’’, with the IFP saying the president had not gone ’’far enough to reassure South Africans that the government he leads can rescue South Africa from the brink of an abyss’’.
’’What the address lacked was a clear plan," the IFP said in a statement. ’’As the president spoke, criminals continued to loot a blood bank on live TV, underscoring the extent of the anarchy we face.’’
“Let me be clear – we will take action to protect every person in this country against the threat of violence, intimidation, theft and looting. We will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute those who perpetrate these actions.
’’We will restore calm and order so that we can get on with the task of rebuilding this country and creating a better life for its people,” Ramaphosa said last night.
What was also of concern in some quarters is how effective the 2 500 ’’Operation Prosper’’ troops to be deployed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal would be. After all, 76 000 soldiers had helped to enforce lockdown rules early in the Covid-19 pandemic.
I don't think the people breaking into SANBS have donated blood before. They don't even understand the cause anymore..— Denotion (@MrDenotion) July 12, 2021
Is this what they mean when they say "Zulu uyasabeka".. They now loot bloood😳pic.twitter.com/Sbp8L3i0T3
However, with widespread looting continuing on Tuesday in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, Minister Ayanda Dlodlo was probed on whether the State Security Agency was “alive in action”.
“I want South Africans to rest assured that we did avert a lot. What you see is only a part of what could have happened. So, we were not missing in action as SSA and, I dare say, even the police were not missing in action. We tried our level best under a very difficult situation,” Dlodlo said at a Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster briefing.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said police had arrested 757 people in connection with the unprecedented looting. Of those who were arrested, 304 came from KwaZulu-Natal and 453 from Gauteng.