Press Statement On The Unrest And Looting In South Africa

The Helen Suzman Foundation Comments On The Outbreak Of Violence In Certain Parts Of South Africa.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) is gravely concerned at the unrest and widespread looting which has occurred in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.  We are disquieted not only by the initial sluggishness of the State’s reaction to the seriousness of the violence that has been occurring, but also by the inadequate level of intervention.  Likewise, the apparent lack of timely information at the State’s disposal as to the scale and context of these events is troubling.

We call on Government to ensure that adequate police and military resources are made available to deal with the situation as a matter of urgency.  It is clear that the initial deployment of these forces was insufficient, not only to deal with incidents of unrest and looting, but crucially, also to protect key infrastructure facilities, such as the port of Durban, national highways, rail services, economic centres, and areas in the vicinity of hospitals.

The HSF is not in favour of a declaration of a state of emergency at present, but we urge that any response by law enforcement authorities must be proportionate and in keeping with the law.  We welcome the stated commitment of Government to legality and the respect for rights.

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