With violence raging in South Africa, Durban and Richards Bay port operations have fallen into disarray. The Natcor rail line connecting Durban alongside Gauteng province where Johannesburg resides also got disrupted. On July 12, Transnet-A South African logistics company that looks after the country's port and terminal operations-enforced force majeure.
The firm illustrated concerns for the wellbeing of their employees and the ineptitude to wander around the city safely, but the company refuted reports highlighting the port getting ransacked.
The days of violence brought in such closures, doing nothing well, and riots are spreading all around the country. South Africans raged as the country's former president was convicted and pushed behind bars on resentment of court charges for missing a corruption inquiry. Former president Jacob Zuma has been sentenced to 15-months. As he handed himself to the police, protests were evoked all around his home province in eastern South Africa, and also the location of the ports.
Following days of meager efforts to obstruct roads in the local, the demonstrations escalated and scattered to other important areas, including Johannesburg. Reports of a shopping mall and warehouses being plundered and set on fire, with major roads getting blocked, flooded the news on Monday, July 12. According to the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal reports, over 400 people were arrested by the South African security forces attempting to thwart violence and no less than 72 people were killed respectively.
Cyril Ramaphosa (President, South Africa), expressed his voice to the nation to be calm, and in a series of Tweets requested a return to order. He is professing to not be hesitant if the situation demands to arrest and indict the perpetrators. For the nation to restore peace, restrict violence, menacing, theft, and looting, the government will do everything.
However, Transnet in its statement highlighted that "the violence has now reached proportions beyond the control of the local law enforcement and security services."
Due to the surge in civil turmoil, the company was bound to suspend general port operations in both ports. Although the coal operations seemed to be proceeding, as said by S&P Platts quoting sources, the additional upheavals were foreseen at the ports.
After the video of a container being vandalized went viral online, Transnet immediately issued an additional notice refuting reports of its facilities getting looted. They reiterated, "We can confirm that the container is not at any of our ports, or any of Transnet's facilities."
Shell and BP South African Petroleum Refineries have also enforced force majeure as reported by the local media. The operations at a halt are reportedly believed to be contributing 35% of total South African refinery capacity.
Before the recent rounds of protests, mining giant Rio Tinto, two weeks ago, also announced a force majeure on customer deals at its Minerals project situated at Richards Bay. At the time, they referred to "an escalation in the security situation at the operations."