Death toll from the anti-Jacob Zuma arrest protests increased to 72 on Tuesday as more violence escalated in South Africa over the jailing of the former President for contempt of court.
Ex-president Zuma was convicted and sentenced to 15 months in jail over his refusal to appear in court to answer to corruption charges during his nine year rule from 2009 – 2018.
The development led to protests by his supporters after Zuma, following days of defiance, finally handed himself over.
The violence is pronounced in major cities and small towns in KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng provinces where fires are started, highways are blocked and businesses are looted.
According to a Bloomberg news agency report earlier on Monday, over 200 shopping malls had been looted according to the chief executive of Business Leadership South Africa, Busisiwe Mavuso.
In response to the violence, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has deployed the military to help the police who are overwhelmed by the situation. But it looks like it is not enough.
In a nationwide broadcast, President Ramaphosa admonished the citizens saying, “the path of violence, looting and anarchy leads only to more violence and devastation as well as suffering.
Security officials informed that the government was working to bring an end to the violence and looting which has spread from Zuma’s KwaZulu -Natal home province to Johannesburg and its surrounding province of Gauteng within five days.
The south African Police Service (SAPS) confirmed late on Tuesday that as many as 72 people had lost their lives and 1,234 had been arrested over the last few days as protests descended into looting and riots, Al Jazeera also reports. (BBC News/AlJazeera/Bloomberg).