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South African army to end internal deployment of 25,000 troops

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South African army to end internal deployment of 25,000 troops

Siphiwe Sibeko Reuters
Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) is set to end their internal deployment of 25,000 troops today.

The SANDF was deployed last month to assist police in combatting violent rioting and looting which emerged from protests related to the arrest of populist former President Jacob Zuma. Zuma stands accused of corruption during his presidency, a charge which sitting President and former Zuma deputy Cyril Ramaphosa endorses.

Expect the SANDF to drastically scale back their presence as the rioting and looting has decreased. However, with SANDF forces now stationed across South African Broadcasting Corporation buildings, it is likely that their occupation will be extended in the short-term.

Rioting and looting are also unlikely to recur in the short-term because of the SANDF deployments and the postponement of Zuma’s trial to September 9 for undisclosed health reasons. In the medium- to long-term, unrest may return to the streets of South Africa as the nation continues to struggle to provide, mostly black, South Africans with opportunities. A return to instability is likely to delay South Africa’s post-pandemic recovery, as businesses must spend on repairing damages rather than hiring, thus exacerbating youth unemployment and widening the wealth gap in the world’s most unequal country.

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