His imprisonment, together with the serious social and economic situation in the country, has already caused the death of at least 45 people
The outbreaks of violence caused by the imprisonment of former South African president Jacob Zuma have already resulted in the death of 45 people. The peaceful protests called after his arrest a week ago have led to looting and destruction of shops and gas stations by mobs mainly in the provinces of Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal, two of the most prosperous in the southern republic.
The worst incident took place in a shopping center in Soweto, a suburb of the capital Johannesburg, where ten people were killed in a stampede.
Columns of smoke rise over ravaged shopping malls and burning vehicles block road crossings in the eThekwini metropolitan area, which comprises the main port of Durban on the continent. The Army has joined the work of the Police to contain one of the biggest popular rebellions since the country abandoned ‘apartheid’ in 1989 and a democratic regime was established.
Vaccination campaigns against covid-19 have been interrupted in areas affected by the climate of insecurity. The sudden explosion is not related to massive support for Zuma, according to local media, which is explained by the serious social and economic situation in the country, affected by huge differences in income, poverty and exclusion.
Political motive does not appear to be the trigger for the riots. According to sources from the security forces, some of the 800 arrested to date did not even know who the accused was and point out that the altercations were encouraged by messages on social networks.
Among those involved is Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, one of the jailed leader’s daughters, who inserted ‘tweets’ that allegedly called for action in the streets.