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July 28, 2021

Six Killed as South African Riots Spread After Jailing of Zuma

Updated on
  • Violent demonstrations disrupt traffic, shutter stores, banks
  • Ramaphosa to address the nation for second time in two days

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation for the second time in two days after protests triggered by last week’s incarceration of his predecessor claimed six lives, forced businesses to shut and weakened the currency.

The riots began in former President Jacob Zuma’s home base of KwaZulu-Natal province and spread to the nation’s economic hub of Gauteng over the weekend, disrupting commerce and transport networks. Authorities arrested more than 200 people and worked to disperse hundreds of protesters who targeted stores across the two regions, the police said in a statement on Sunday.

Trade Blocked

South Africa’s N3 highway that links the Durban harbor to Johannesburg is shut due to violent protests

A key trade route in the country’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal was shut after trucks were torched on Friday night and the looting of malls followed. Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest lender, closed its branches in protest-hit areas. Retailers Pick n Pay Stores Ltd., Woolworths Holdings Ltd. and Massmart Holdings Ltd., a unit of Walmart Inc., were among the companies to shut outlets.

“Yesterday was very chaotic. The shops that were open were looted,” Christian Sosibo, a resident of Johannesburg’s poor, densely populated Hillbrow suburb, said on Monday. “Today has been very quiet but the shops are closed, nothing much is happening but the police are alert.”

South Africa said it will deploy its army to help police quell the violence, among the worst the nation has seen since the end of white minority rule in 1994, while Ramaphosa warned Sunday that all rioters will be prosecuted. The admonishing failed to stem the tumult that began after Zuma turned himself in to authorities on July 7. The former president was sentenced to 15 months in jail for defying a court order to testify at a graft inquiry. He denies any wrongdoing.

The upheaval coincided with the extension of a lockdown that’s hurting businesses and robbed many people of their livelihoods in a nation with a 32.6% unemployment rate.


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