Soldiers have been deployed to areas in South Africa where deadly protests have continued to take place over the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma.
The government is hoping the soldiers can quell the deadly unrest that sparked looting of shops and setting of buildings on fire on Monday.
At least six people have been killed and 200 arrested since the unrest began last week.
This is the first time such pro-Zuma protests are taking place on the streets after the former leader was processed for prison last Wednesday.
He handed himself over to the police and was admitted to prison to serve his 15-month sentence for being in contempt of court.
But police the protests are now being infiltrated by criminals who are taking advantage of the chaos.
— Free State Central News (@fscentralnews) July 12, 2021
— Leanne Manas (@LeanneManas) July 12, 2021
The protests first started from Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, then to Johannesburg, in Gauteng.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday appealed for calm saying that “there are those who may be hurt and angry”, but “there can never be any justification for such violent, destructive and disruptive actions”.
On Monday soldiers were seen patrolling the streets of Pietermaritzburg.
“The South African National Defence Force has commenced with pre-deployment processes and procedures in line with a request for assistance received… to assist law enforcement agencies deployed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces respectively to quell the unrest that has gripped both Provinces in the last few days,” it said in a statement.
Breaking l The SANDF has commenced with pre-deployment processes and procedures in line with a request for assistance received from the NATJOINTS to assist law enforcement agencies deployed in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal Provinces #violentprotest pic.twitter.com/YvuGaVwMHc
— @SAgovnews (@SAgovnews) July 12, 2021
The jailing of a former president is unprecedented in South Africa, which has been gripped by Zuma’s legal turmoil.
Mr. Zuma has said that the apartheid government treated him better than the current one after he was last week found guilty of contempt of court.
The verdict was delivered by the country’s constitutional court after he failed to appear and participate at the state capture inquiry.
Mr. Zuma said going to jail without trial was something he fought against during the white-minority apartheid rule.