Violence grips South Africa, ports declare force majeure
Seeing the looting and violence in the country, South African logistics company Transnet has declared force majeure on July 12. The company announced that they are suspending terminal operations at the ports of Durban and Richards Bay.
Mass scale looting and violence has swept South Africa after the former president, Jacob Zuma was jailed on contempt of court charges related to a corruption inquiry. Following his arrest, there were demonstrations in his home province in eastern South Africa and it later escalated to road blockages and looting. The Wall Street Journal reported that at least 72 people have lost their lives whereas the Associated Press reported the arrest of 400 people by South African security forces.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appealed to the nation to restore law and order. He has also vowed to prosecute the perpetrators and do everything to save the country from violence, looting, and intimidation.
Transnet has said in its statement that violence and looting have moved beyond the control of local security and law enforcement services. Commenting on the viral video of a container being vandalized, they confirmed that the incident did not happen at their port or any of their facilities.
In addition to Transnet, South African media has reported that Shell and BP refineries in the country have also declared force majeure. Combined, Shell and BP account for 35% of South Africa’s refinery capacity. Mining giant, Rio Tinto had also declared force majeure on customer contracts at Richards Bay.
Maersk has shut down all its depots, warehouses and cold stores in Durban and Johannesburg, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday, as looting in the two South African cities bearing the brunt of rampaging crowds continued.