Death toll rises to 72 in South African riots - The Gallant News


Thursday, 15 July 2021

Death toll rises to 72 in South African riots

 Death toll rises to 72 in South African riots

Looters outside a shopping centre alongside a burning barricade in Durban, South Africa, 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/Andre Swart)

LOOTERS yesterday again attacked shopping malls and other businesses in the nation’s industrial centre in Johannesburg and other cities in South Africa.

This is as the death toll from six days of protests in the country rose to 72 as violence continues across the country in the aftermath of the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma.

Most of the deaths, according to a police statement, “relate to stampedes that occurred during incidents of looting of shops”.

The police said they had identified 12 people suspected of provoking the riots and that a total of 1,234 people had been arrested.

Video footage surfaced on the internet showing looters and mobs setting alight shopping centres amidst clashes with the police in several cities on Tuesday.

The BBC filmed a baby being thrown from a building in Durban that was on fire after ground-floor shops were looted.

On Monday, 10 people were killed in a stampede during looting at a shopping centre in Soweto.

By yesterday, more than 600 stores had been looted with products worth billions of rand damaged, according to the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, which called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to impose a state of emergency.

The violence, according to reports, was triggered by the jailing of Zuma on July 7.

Zuma was convicted of contempt after failing to appear before a special commission investigating corruption during his nine-year presidency.

His lawyer argued Monday before South Africa’s Constitutional Court that Zuma should have his sentence rescinded.

Judges on the court said they would consider the arguments and announce their decision at a later date.

But, President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday consulted with leaders of political parties on measures to end the unrest that ensued after the incarceration of Zuma.

Protests erupted on Friday night following news of the ex-president’s jailing. The first waves of unrest began in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal and have since spilled over to South Africa’s economic capital of Johannesburg in Gauteng.

“President Ramaphosa has told the leaders of South Africa’s political parties that government is intensifying its efforts and working in partnership with civil society to stem public violence affecting various parts of the country … Leaders of political parties characterised the situation in the country as an attack on the democratic order that required a multifaceted response in the long term, in view of deep levels of unemployment and poverty,” the presidency said in a statement.

Party leaders called on transport authorities to ensure the safety of major routes so that the population has access to food, fuel and medical supplies. The politicians also called for a 9.00 p.m.-4.00 a.m. curfew.

“The political leaders called for greater coordination among the police, the national defence force, intelligence agencies, private security services and community-based safety structures,” the statement read, adding that “President Ramaphosa welcomed proposals made by political leaders and said expanded deployment of the South African National Defence Force was being addressed.”



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