South Africa Zuma riots: price mounts amid looting

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At least 30 people have died within the violence which has been engulfing parts of South Africa since the country’s former President Jacob Zuma handed himself into the police last week.

Almost 800 people are arrested within 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 assist the overstretched police.

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Police Minister Bheki Cele told journalists on Tuesday that if the looting continued, there was a risk area could run out of basic goods.

However, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said there wasn’t yet a requirement to declare a state of emergency over the violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said some 26 people had been killed within the province thus far, including a 15-year-old boy, EWN reports. Six deaths are confirmed in Gauteng, press agency AFP says.

Officials have accused some groups are 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.

But Mr. Cele warned that “no amount of unhappiness or personal circumstances from our people give the proper to anyone to loot, vandalize and do as they please and break the law”.

He also 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 had been looking into tweets sent by Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla.

“She will need to answer and explain what her tweets mean and where they go to steer to,” Jesse Duarte, the party’s deputy secretary-general, said, consistent with South Africa’s Daily Maverick.

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 the police late on Wednesday.

He is hoping to urge the sentence rescinded or reduced by the country’s constitutional Court. However, legal experts say his chances of success are slim.

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