More than 72 people have died during a violent uprising in South Africa, according to Reuters.
The unrest began on July 7 in Johannesburg after former president Jacob Zuma was arrested for corruption. Zuma, 79, was convicted and given a 15-month sentence for contempt of court. He turned himself in on July 7.
The unrest is the worst violence seen in the region in years. According to the BBC, during a stampede at a mall in Soweto, ten people were trampled to death.
Al Jazeera reported that several people were also killed in stampedes in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal as people looted alcohol, clothes, food and electronics. Stores and shopping centers have also been destroyed. One woman was forced to drop her baby from a burning building to save her life.
The protests began shortly after Zuma’s arrest and gradually turned into looting and violent rioting. The unrest began at Zuma’s home in the KwaZulu-Natal province and eventually spread to Johannesburg. The violence also spread to Durban and the Gauteng province.
#SouthAfrica, you demonstrated the Power of Non-Violence to the world at the most difficult time in your history. Painful to see you bleed today. May you Unite & and build back the Strong, Vibrant Nation that we all know & admire. Blessings. – Sg https://t.co/tFUF6f29rO
— Sadhguru (@SadhguruJV) July 14, 2021
Child thrown from a burning building amidst South Africa riots and caught by bystanders.
(Both mother and baby are fine).
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) July 14, 2021
JUST IN – At least 72 people have been killed, hundreds arrested, and countless properties looted so far in spiraling unrest in South Africa triggered by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma.pic.twitter.com/9HNgZBotCz
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) July 14, 2021
Footage shot from a helicopter shows fires at warehouses and people gathering outside truck depots in the north of Durban
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 14, 2021
— JGZuma Foundation (Official) (@JGZ_Foundation) July 9, 2021
Sad to see elderly women caught looting in KZN, telling @Newzroom405 ‘s Phelane Phagadi they are sorry, they know they are wrong, that it’s illegal. They saw everyone else doing it. One says she was hungry. She got injured in stampede. They didn’t do it for Zuma, they said.
— Redi Tlhabi (@RediTlhabi) July 14, 2021
Officials claim that people are angry because of rampant poverty despite apartheid ending 27 years ago, but the Zuma foundation believes the protests are due to his imprisonment. Restrictions due to COVID-19 also contributed to the desperation of the people. Twenty-five thousand soldiers were deployed to assist the police stop the violence.
A spokesman for the Zuma foundation, Mzwanele Manyi, told Reuters that the violence could have been avoided.
“The violence could have been avoided. It started with the decision of the constitutional court to detain president Zuma … This is what gave anger to the people,” said Manyi.