The South African Council of Churches (SACC) urgently appeals for an end to the violent protests spilling into criminal acts of vandalism and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The council says the destruction the country is witnessing will have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts.
SACC has commended the police for their restraint in handling the vandalism under extreme provocation and physical threats.
“As policing is totally overwhelmed and the military step in to curb the destruction, we may yet again face a different challenge of the potential militarization of our society with regrettable outcomes,” adds the council in a statement from the organisation’s general secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana.
SACC says it is worrying that the unrest takes place amid the third wave of COVID-19 that is bound to take its toll in this environment.
The council’s statement comes as vandalism and looting continue in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
In Vosloorus, in Ekurhuleni, a mall has been set alight:
Meanwhile, the Tastic Rice warehouse at Mobeni, south of Durban, is the latest business facility to be attacked by looters.
Television images show people walking away with large bags of rice.
The looters are believed to be from nearby areas including Lamontville, Umlazi and Montclair.
Roads to the factory have been closed. Meanwhile in the Durban CBD, eThekwini firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze on Pine Street following looting in the area.
The civil unrest began last week after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed.
The State Security Minister has confirmed that they are investigating senior former intelligence agents and some ANC members who are suspected of having instigated the protests.
At least 70 people have died in the protests and more than 1 000 others have so far been arrested.