South Africa’s major cities remain submerged in a wave of protests and looting over the imprisonment of controversial former President Jacob Zuma. And the overflow led to a maddening scene: a woman he threw his baby from the heights to save her from a fire.
It happened in Durban, where as part of the demonstrations Zuma supporters they set fire to downtown businesses. The smoke and flames moved to the first floors of the buildings, with the anguish of those who were in the place.
Naledi Manyoni, 26, was on the 16th floor with her baby, 23 months. Noticing the smoke, he decided to leave the building. Since the elevator was not working, he had to use the stairs. Not even then did he get to the ground floor, since the area was inaccessible.
Desperate woman walked out on a second floor balcony and walked through the canopy of the shopping center on the ground floor. There, about eight meters high, he held his baby under his arms. Meanwhile, on the street, half a dozen strangers, amid the destruction left by the protests, they were preparing to receive the girl.
The viralized video on social networks shows the moment when the mother, suddenly, release the baby, who is saved by the group of people who were waiting for her on the street.
The damage in Durban, after the sixth day of riots in South Africa. AFP photo
In dialogue with the BBC, Manyoni put words to his exasperation: “All I could do was trusting complete strangers“.
Protests and looting
Discontent and demonstrations began last week after the former president’s imprisonment Jacob Zuma, who presided over South Africa between 2009 and 2018. He is serving a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court, as he refused to comply with a court order to testify in a corruption investigation allegedly committed during his tenure.
The marches of Zuma supporters quickly turned into a wave of violence, with looting, vandalism and arson. The eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal and the province of Gauteng, the political and economic heart of South Africa and where Johannesburg and Pretoria meet, are affected.
The claim of supporters of Jacob Zuma, in South Africa. Reuters photo
The current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, expressed his concern about the severity of the crisis, which he compared to the turbulent beginning of the 1990s, when South Africa was going through the exit from “apartheid”.
In six days of protests, more than 200 violent incidents. Some 5,000 military personnel were sent to support the forces of order.
According to the Police, so far 72 people died and there were 1,234 detainees.
Men detained by civilians after looting in Johannesburg. AP Photo
This Wednesday, President Ramaphosa met virtually with the leaders of the parties represented in the National Assembly and exhorted them to collaborate in the restoration of order.
The military authorities were excited to leave behind the concern and they spoke of “tense calm“.
“I can confirm that Gauteng is calm,” Army Colonel Mmathapelo Maine said near the large Maponya shopping center in the Soweto neighborhood, surrounded by soldiers with rifles.
“We are in control of the situation and we do it with the cooperation of the community,” Maine said.
With information from AP