Police Minister Bheki Cele is heading back to Phoenix in Durban on Friday morning – one of the hardest areas hit by violence and looting and where racial tensions have flared up as a result.

In that suburb alone, 20 people have died in the last few days.

Residents have resorted to guarding most of the neigbourhoods but also restricting anyone from entering their area.

This has led to confrontations and deepened anger, with some people saying they were being treated like thugs in their own communities and were not able to access critical services.

Phoenix Community Policing Forum chair Umesh Singh said it was possible that some people who were killed there this week came under fire from those who were trying to protect themselves.

“There was a shootout between the community members and the looters, so anything is possible at this moment.”

As of Thursday, there were 10,000 soldiers patrolling the streets of Gauteng and KZN and while government said the tide seemed to be turning, the effects of the violence are likely to be long lasting.

In KwaZulu Natal, there are growing concerns of a humanitarian crisis, with supply lines blocked or constrained.

The army has now been deployed to free up the arterial routes into the province… to ensure basic goods like food and medical supplies are available….

For residents, daily life has become a struggle.

“We find our selves in a situation that is similar to a war zone,” one resident said.

Another added that: “We’re struggling to get milk, bread.”

Whilst government still characterises the province as volatile, it maintains its showing signs of stabilisation.

The violence has cost the economy billions and many small and medium businesses targeted indiscriminately will never recover.


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