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6 dead in SA riots

The riots which began in KwaZulu-Natal province, spread to the nation’s economic hub, Gauteng over the weekend.
Image: Luca Sola/AFP/Getty Images

Protests triggered by last week’s arrest of former South African President Jacob Zuma have claimed six lives, seen scores of business looted and weakened the currency, with the police struggling to contain escalating violence.

The riots which began in KwaZulu-Natal province, Zuma’s home base spread to the nation’s economic hub, Gauteng over the weekend shuttering businesses and halting transport networks. Authorities arrested more than 200 people and worked to disperse hundreds of protesters as businesses across the two affected regions were hit by looting, police said in a statement on Sunday.

Violence began with the closure of a key trade route in the country’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal after trucks were torched on Friday night. That transformed into looting of malls, local media reported. Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest lender, shut its branches in the nation’s business hub of Johannesburg in Gauteng province, amid reports of looting in parts of the city.

South Africa said it will deploy its army to help police quell the violence, among the worst the nation has seen since the end of white minority rule in 1994, while President Cyril Ramaphosa warned that all rioters will be prosecuted. The admonishing failed to stem the tumult that began after Zuma turned himself in to authorities on July 7. The former president was sentenced to 15 months in jail for defying a court order to testify at a graft inquiry. He denies any wrongdoing.

The violence also follows an extension of a lockdown that’s hurting businesses and has robbed many people of livelihood in a nation with an unemployment rate of 32.6%.

‘’South Africa has been sitting on a powder keg for some time,” Mervyn Abrahams, program coordinator for the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice Dignity Programme said by phone from Durban. Joblessness, inflation, and the lockdown means “the rioting and looting is a prime way for many criminal elements to take advantage of the situation under the banner of Free Zuma whether they believe in it or not,” he said.

The Constitutional Court began a sitting on Monday to hear Zuma’s application to have his conviction and sentencing overturned. Police spokespeople in KwaZulu-Natal didn’t respond to calls.

“While there are those who may be hurt and angry at this moment, there can never be any justification for such violent, destructive and disruptive actions,” Ramaphosa said in a televised speech on Sunday. “It is a matter of concern to all South Africans that some of these acts of violence are based on ethnic mobilisation.

Rand weakens

South Africa’s rand weakened 1.6% to R14.45 the dollar at 12:36 p.m. in Johannesburg, the most since June 18 as the violence spread.

Residents in cities of KwaZulu-Natal reported sounds of shooting and malls being torched. Meanwhile, parts of the N3 Toll Route, which links the port city of Durban with Gauteng province, have reopened, yet access to the M2 highway in Johannesburg is restricted in some areas after violence erupted in the city overnight.

In Gauteng, that includes the city of Johannesburg, police are investigating the deaths of four people, while in KwaZulu-Natal authorities were probing the killing of two people, according to a statement by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure.

“In Gauteng the hotspots are in the Johannesburg inner-city and parts in and around the central business district,” Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Xolani Fihla said by phone. “There’s been reports of looting in Soweto, sporadic and not concentrated in one specific area.”

Even as protests flared, police were deployed along major routes to help enforce rules around gatherings to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Read: Durban Chamber appeals to Ramaphosa to deploy SANDF in KwaZulu-Natal

© 2021 Bloomberg

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About time the media started referring to this as what it really is. ‘Riots’ and not ‘protests’.

If CNN is to be believed, these would be referred to as “Mostly Peaceful” protests…

I don’t watch CNN. It is a propaganda channel with political goals.

I watch Al Jazeera instead of CNN, proper journalism.

Plus BBC and eNews (Etv).

ANARCHY….definitely not protests or riots either!

Less to do with riots than just plain old looting… Hell, if JZ could do it then so can anyone.

it’s just an excuse to loot and and show dissatisfaction at the high levels of poverty and unemployment. It’s pent up negative energy that can only be seen as a result of failed ANC policies

How do swallows teach their chicks not to crap in the nest??? First of all they don’t crap in the nest either.

This is what the anc spent 109 years teaching their people.

No dignity. Just crap in their own nest!!!

PFT!! These people.

Not to mention making sure that they keep them uneducated enough to believe anything the ANC tells them

Reversion to the mean.

“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”
Lawlessness and anarchy have been part and parcel of the ANC strategies for many decades. Todays adults grew up disrespecting law and order, using brutality and violence as political tools. The necklace killings, rioting, and looting were seen as legitimate strategies to reach political goals. The current anarchic behaviour is simply a continuation of old strategies where factions jostle for positions of power in the hierarchy of criminality.

Let’s not be ignorant or naive. This is not about Zuma or Zulu loyalty at all. They are fighting for control of the headquarters of the Mafia. They are fighting to conquer Luthuli House.

From Rainbow Nation to this!! Then again the last thing so-called leaders like Malema and Zuma ever wanted was national unity. No use waiting for looting to break out before tackling thugs. Taxi, union, EFF, and Zuma thugs have been royalty for years. The untrained police force and SANDF are a joke – they just loiter around watching and have no clue. Sad to think the comments about Black rule from the likes of PW Botha are proving prophetic.

Hong Kong, Russia, Cuba, Haiti, a host of African countries, Eswatini and now KZN – a nice mix of the consequences of fascism, corruption and political arrogance. Back home in SA it’s the complete failure of the inept attempting to lead the blind.

the people that say this is because people are hungry : how do you eat a 58” Samsung TV?

There are many many more looters dead… Each DBN community has shot at least 15 dead. They are not allowing the media in purposely

End of comments.

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