After the imprisonment of ex-President Zuma, the protests in South Africa are spiraling out of control. Violent riots have now broken out in other regions as well.
In South Africa, violent protests and looting spread from the affected two provinces to neighboring regions, with at least 72 dead. There were similar incidents in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Northern Cape, the police said late Wednesday evening.
The African Union (AU) made an urgent call for order to be restored in the face of the violence. According to media reports, vigilante groups were formed in the affected areas to prevent the looted and often destroyed industrial areas from spilling over into the residential areas.
Violence in South Africa is spreading to other regions
According to the government, the military, which has meanwhile been mobilized to support the police, was stationed primarily at strategic points around hospitals and airports, but also in the Alexandra township near Johannesburg. At least four Somali foreigners were also killed and others injured during the riots.
As the Somali Foreign Ministry also confirmed on Tuesday, numerous Somali shops in the province of KwaZulu-Natal were also looted. Somali traders have been involved in attacks in South Africa in the past repeated target of attacks. The Somali Foreign Office therefore appealed to the South African government to protect Somali citizens from brutal attacks.
The situation is exacerbated by the corona crisis – many vaccination centers are closed because of the unrest. There is also a threat of supply bottlenecks because one of the most important connections – the N3 motorway from Africa’s most important port in Durban to Johannesburg – has been closed for days. The estimated damage to the country’s previously ailing economy is now estimated at tens of millions.
Riots after the imprisonment of ex-President Zuma
The riots began as a form of protest against the imprisonment of ex-President Jacob Zuma; Within a few days, however, they developed into large-scale riots in the industrial heart of the country around Johannesburg and Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuma had been sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment for disregard of justice, which he served late Wednesday. He has to answer before a commission of inquiry into various allegations of corruption during his term of office (2009-2018), but did not accept a subpoena.