Thirty people have died in the violence which has been engulfing parts of South Africa since the country’s former President Jacob Zuma handed himself in to Police custody last week. Almost 800 people have been arrested in the unrest which began as protests following Zuma’s jailing on Thursday. But, protests turned violent over the weekend, with fires set, highways blocked and businesses looted. The military has now been deployed to help the overstretched police.
Police Minister Bheki Cele told the media today that if the looting continued, there was a risk area could run out of basic goods.
However, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said, there was not yet a need to declare a state of emergency over the violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.
Officials have accused some groups of taking advantage of the anger over Zuma’s imprisonment to commit criminal acts while others have said anger over unemployment and poverty is fuelling the chaos.
Mr. Cele revealed they were investigating 12 people for inciting violence.
There has been some concern over fake news online fuelling the unrest, while the governing African National Congress (ANC) had already revealed it was looking into tweets sent by Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla. Zuma was convicted of contempt of court last month after failing to attend an inquiry into corruption during his presidency.
The 79-year-old, who denies corruption, was given a 15-month prison sentence. He handed himself to Police late last Wednesday.