Death Toll Mounts In South Africa Rioting After Zuma Jailing [VIDEOS]

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Suspect looters are held at the Bara taxi rank shops in Soweto, Johannesburg, Monday, July 12, 2021. Police say six people are dead and more than 200 have been arrested amid escalating violence during rioting that broke out following the imprisonment of South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma. (AP Photo/Ali Greeff)

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The death toll from rioting in South Africa rose to 45 on Tuesday as police and the military tried to halt the unrest in poor areas of two provinces that began last week after the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.

Many of the deaths in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces occurred in chaotic stampedes as scores of people stole food, electric appliances, liquor and clothing from stores, officials said.

Sporadic violence broke out after Zuma on Thursday began serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court. He had refused to comply with a court order to testify at a state-backed inquiry investigating allegations of corruption while he was president from 2009 to 2018.

The unrest then spiraled into a spree of looting in township areas of the two provinces, witnesses said, although it has not spread to South Africa’s other seven provinces, where police are on alert.

“The criminal element has hijacked this situation,” said Premier David Makhura of Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg.

More than 400 people were arrested in Gauteng, but the situation was far from under control, he said.

“We understand that those unemployed have inadequate food. We understand that the situation has been made worse by the pandemic,” an emotional Makhura said on the state South African Broadcasting Corp. “But this looting is undermining our businesses here (in Soweto). It is undermining our economy, our community. It is undermining everything.”

As he spoke, the broadcast showed police trying to bring order to the Ndofaya shopping mall, where 10 people were crushed to death in a looting stampede. A couple of gunshots could be heard.

Makhura appealed for leaders of political, religious and community organizations to urge people to stop the looting.

At least 19 had been killed in Gauteng, including the 10 at the mall in the Meadowlands area of Soweto, Makhura said.

At least 26 people had been killed in KwaZulu-Natal province, many crushed in the shops, premier Sihle Zikalala told the press on Tuesday.

The deployment of 2,500 soldiers to support the South African police has not yet stopped the rampant looting, although arrests are being made at some areas in Johannesburg, including Vosloorus in the eastern part of the city.

Looting continued Tuesday in shopping malls in Johannesburg township areas, including Jabulani Mall and Dobsonville Mall in Soweto. There also were reports of looting in KwaZulu-Natal.

Authorities have repeatedly warned Zuma supporters and relatives against using social media to encourage the riots.

The Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, heard Zuma’s application to have his sentence rescinded on Monday. Zuma’s lawyer argued that the top court made errors when sentencing Zuma to prison. After 10 hours of testimony, the judges said they would announce their decision at a later date.

(AP)


3 COMMENTS

  1. South Africa ,a federal parliamentary system in the Apartheid era was one of the most advanced in the world yet a traditional Values driven Society

    They were the bulwark against against communism for the whole Southern half of Africa

    Was Apartheid unjust as a system ? Largely correct
    Were the conservative nationalist leaders a bit slower to react to a changing world?? Largely correct ​
    It was a magnificent system and therefore it had to be wrecked and ruined
    But because they were in the way of big Corporation capitalism In an alliance with Soviet communism And their proxies

    For all those who still retain the notion that big business capitalism some ally of ours this to be a wake-up call

    what would have been the best solution for South Africa ?Partition probably
    divide the country

    who refused to allow that

    once again big business
    huge mining companies and corporations would limit and diminish their massive properties
    so it was the public be damned

    let this be a lesson for all those who still believe capitalism
    can
    be
    our friend
    that would apply to virtually all
    rich friends