South Africa braces for more violence after days of unrest

South Africa braces for more violence after days of unrest

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More than 70 people killed and 1,000 arrested over five days as authorities fail to stop spiralling violence and looting.

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of former South African President Jacob Zuma block the freeway with burning tyres during a protest in Peacevale, South Africa, July 9, 2021. REUTERS/Rogan Ward/File Photo

South Africa has been rocked by violence and looting for five consecutive days, with more than 70 people killed as grievances over the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma spiralled into the worst unrest in decades.

Following the jailing of the former leader, protests and mass looting have widened into an outpouring of anger over the inequality that remains 27 years after the end of apartheid.

Poverty has been exacerbated by severe social and economic restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

More than 1,200 people have been arrested in the lawlessness that has raged in poor areas of two provinces, where a community radio station was ransacked and forced off the air on Tuesday and some COVID-19 vaccination centres were closed, disrupting urgently needed inoculations.

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

The deployment of 2,500 soldiers to support the overwhelmed South African police has so far failed to stop the rampant looting.

Overnight violence spread to two more provinces

Overnight violence spread to two provinces, Mpumalanga, just east of Gauteng, and Northern Cape, police said in a statement.

A Reuters news agency photographer saw several shops being looted in the town of Hammersdale, Mpumalanga, on Wednesday. Local TV stations meanwhile showed more looting of shops in South Africa’s largest township Soweto, and in the port city of Durban.

The national prosecuting authority has said it will punish those caught looting or destroying property, a threat that so far has done little to deter them.

South Africa’s largest refinery temporarily shut down

South Africa’s largest refinery SAPREF in the eastern port city of Durban has been temporarily shut down as the country struggles with mass looting and the worst violence in years, according to an industry official.

SAPREF has a nameplate capacity of 180,000 barrels per day and accounts for about 35 percent of the refining capacity in Africa’s most industrialised economy, a net importer of petroleum products.

IN PICTURES: Violence and looting escalates in South Africa as Zuma jailed

A business is set on fire during widespread looting and protests in Durban, South Africa [EPA]
People throw stones at police as they attempt looting at Letsoho Shopping Centre in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg, South Africa [Themba Hadebe/AP Photo]
Police officers detain demonstrators during protests following the imprisonment of former South Africa President Jacob Zuma, in Katlehong [Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters]

Source: Al Jazeera

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The Radical Outlook

The Radical Outlook is an online news web Portal designed for in-depth news analysis from the Eurasian region and beyond. It is Founded by a geopolitical analyst Shahzada Rahim.
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