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Riots believed to have been provoked by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma spread to Durban yesterday, from Zuma’s home in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng.
Africa Today News, New York gathered that Crowds clashed with police and ransacked or set ablaze shopping malls in cities across South Africa, with dozens of people reported killed.
Eyewitnesses have revealed that over 45 people were killed as against official death toll of 10.
Despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s several appeal for calm and the need to respect the constitution, the protests overnight widened into an outpouring of general anger over the hardship that persists 27 years after the end of apartheid.
Security officials said the government was working to halt the spread of the violence and looting, which has reached the Indian Ocean port city of Durban.
Soldiers have been sent onto the streets to try to contain the unrest.
Zuma, 79, was sentenced last month for defying a constitutional court order to give evidence at an inquiry investigating high-level corruption during his nine years in office until 2018.
He also faces trial in a separate case on charges including corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering. He pleaded not guilty in court in May.
Zuma’s foundation said there would be no peace in South Africa until the former president was released from jail.
‘Peace and stability in South Africa is directly linked to the release of President Zuma with immediate effect,’ it said in a Tweet.
‘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,’ a spokesman for the foundation told reporters on Tuesday.
Troops moved into flashpoints on Tuesday as outnumbered police seemed helpless to stop the unrest, with columns of armoured personnel carriers rolling down highways.
The bodies of 10 people were found on Monday evening after a stampede at a Soweto shopping mall, Gauteng premier David Makhura said.
Hundreds of looters raided warehouses and supermarkets in Durban, one of the busiest shipping terminals on the African continent and an import-export hub.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK