South Africa Unrest: Counting the costs

July 2021 saw a spike in violent outbreaks of lootings and disruption of strategic supply lines for vital commodities.

337 people lost their lives. 161 Malls were destroyed, as were 11 warehouses, 8 factories, and 161 liquor outlets. 1400 ATMs were damaged and over 150 000 jobs were put at risk.

The estimated cost to GDP is 50 billion rands.

Evidence suggests a planned insurrection by those who demand the release of the former State President Jacob Zuma. He was recently arrested for contempt of court and refusing to give account for large-scale corruption under his presidency.

President Cyril Ramaphosa described these events as “an insurrection” and “economic sabotage”, and vowed that
those responsible will be brought to book.

TEASA, a SACLi partner recently held a State of Our nation webinar to explore the underlying issues.

Prayer Notes:

  1. Pray for those with dark motives to be exposed, tried, and held to account.
  2. Pray for the Judiciary to hold steady and not be intimidated.
  3. Pray for President Cyril Ramaphosa to act with courage and wisdom in very difficult times within a party where the balance of forces appears at a knife’s edge.
  4. Pray for a heightened citizen’s awareness and responsibility to resist lawlessness and defend jobs.
  5. For churches to find their voice and ministry as Peacemakers.

#UnrestSA: SA Council of Churches proposes amnesty for looters

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has proposed the declaration of an amnesty for a week or two, during which anyone who looted during the recent unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal can return stolen goods and avoid prosecution.

  • The SACC has proposed that looters be given an amnesty of a week or two to return stolen goods.
  • The council  submitted their proposal on Tuesday during a meeting with the president.
  • The religious group condemned the riots and pleaded with those who were encouraging the violence to stop.

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said the SACC submitted the proposal to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday during their religious group meeting as part of their plan to resolve the ongoing unrest and restore order.

He said it was part of a healing campaign for restoration with amnesty, to encourage a positive social conscience.

Briefing the media on Thursday, Mpumlwana said it was commendable that most of the country was not gripped by the mayhem.

“Churches wish to encourage people who have looted to attempt to return things they stole, by delivering them [to their] nearest police stations. We do not expect a large-scale uptake of this, but we know that it is already in consideration in certain communities,” Mpumlwana said.

Included in the proposal to Ramaphosa, the council said it was aware of cases in which “state capture looting” money had been recovered. It proposed that this money be used to compensate people for the unrest, which destroyed many businesses and property in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The SACC  said it urged an aggressive effort to restore stolen money and suggested that the National Treasury consider applying recovered state capture money to the development and sustenance of a proposed Economic Restoration Fund. The fund can then be used to provide financial relief to businesses affected by the unrest.

Mpumlwana added: “We believe that such a fund can be the beginning of a fund that others, whose conscience inspires them, can support for the long-overdue economic transformation.

WATCH | Snaking queues for food and fuel as KZN grapples with the aftermath of mass looting

In parts of KwaZulu-Natal, motorists are scrambling to find fuel, while others stand in snaking queues for food. Many food stores were looted, trashed, and set on fire, many of those who were not affected chose to close their doors in fear.

“Economic transformation must deliberately and systematically enhance human dignity and the quality of life by preserving not only the environmental sustainability of our planet but also by enabling the participation in the productive economy of poor citizens and the disadvantaged majority with a process that progressively engenders wealth redistribution; to reverse poverty, inequality, and low growth through inclusivity.”

Mpumlwana added that the restoration campaign had already begun, with community leaders who fought against looting, and for the protection of their community infrastructure.