South Africa riots and looting erupted after the country’s highest Constitutional Court delivered the judgement to imprison former President Jacob Zuma.
The conviction was on the charges of contempt of court. Zuma defied the court order to testify before a state-backed inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his term from 2009 to 2018 as president. The sentence was for 15 months of imprisonment. The judgement was delivered on Monday.
After the reports of the 79-year-old former president, Zuma’s sentence of imprisonment, violence started in KwaZulu-Natal and it spread to one of the populated cities in South Africa, Johannesburg.
Looting and riots continued resulting in the killing of 32 people. Most of the people died due to chaotic stampede. Around 2,500 soldiers were deployed to support the local South African police. But unfortunately, both the army as well as the police failed to curtail the looting and rioting. So far the lawlessness of South Africa riots and looting has not spread to the other 9 provinces.
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On Tuesday morning, people looted food, electric appliances, liquor, and clothing from retail centres apart from blocking major roads by burning tires. In a press conference, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said –
Yesterday’s events brought a lot of sadness. The number of people who have died in KwaZulu-Natal alone stands at 26. Many of them died from being trampled on during a stampede while people were looting items
On Monday (12th July 2021) South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation through a television channel and stated –
Over the past few days and nights, there have been acts of public violence of a kind rarely seen in the history of our democracy,
Ramaphosa also said :
the rioting has highlighted poverty, unemployment and inequality in the country.
Violence may indeed have its roots in the pronouncements and activities of individuals with a political purpose, and in expressions of frustration and anger…However, what we are witnessing now are opportunistic acts of criminality, with groups of people instigating chaos merely as a cover for looting and theft.
This moment has thrown into stark relief what we already knew: that the level of unemployment, poverty and inequality in our society is unsustainable,
However, the sporadic pro-Zuma violence spiralled into a spree of criminal theft in poor, township areas of the two provinces. According to the latest reports nearly 490 people were arrested related to looting and riots.