Rioting continued in parts of South Africa Wednesday, in unrest sparked by the imprisonment last week of ex-President Jacob Zuma that has spiraled into days of looting in two of the country’s nine provinces.
South Africa’s police say 72 people have been killed and 1,234 have been arrested in waves of rioting that have hit the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.
Unrest in South Africa triggered by the jailing of the former president Jacob Zuma intensified on Tuesday, despite calls for calm from senior officials and the deployment of thousands of soldiers to the streets to reinforce struggling police.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the deadly violence and protests as unprecedented in the 27 years since the end of the apartheid regime. The death toll from nearly a week of unrest has risen to 72, some from gunshot wounds, while 1,300 people have been arrested.
Ten people were killed during a crowd crush on Monday night at a mall, officials said. Others were reported to have died when a stack of goods in a warehouse collapsed. Four police officers have been injured.
“We are confident our law enforcement agencies are able to do their job successfully. The current situation on the ground is under strong surveillance and we will ensure it will not deteriorate further,” the police minister Bheki Cele told reporters, saying the disturbances risked severe shortages of medicines and foodstuffs across South Africa.