Death toll rises to 72 in South African riots

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

The death toll from six days of protests in South Africa rose to 72 on Tuesday as violence continues across the country in the aftermath of the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma.

Looters attacked shopping malls and other businesses in the nation’s industrial centre in Johannesburg and other cities.

Most of the deaths, according to a police statement, “relate to stampedes that occurred during incidents of looting of shops”.

The police said they had identified 12 people suspected of provoking the riots, and that a total of 1,234 people had been arrested.

Video footage surfaced on the internet showing looters and mobs setting alight shopping centres amidst clashes with the police in several cities on Tuesday.

The BBC Times a baby being thrown from a building in Durban that was on fire after ground-floor shops were looted.

On Monday, 10 people were killed in a stampede during looting at a shopping centre in Soweto.

By Wednesday, more than 600 stores had been looted with products worth billions of rand damaged, according to the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, which called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to impose a state of emergency.

The violence, according to reports, was triggered by the jailing of Mr Zuma on July 7.

Mr Zuma was convicted of contempt after failing to appear before a special commission investigating corruption during his nine-year presidency.

His lawyer argued Monday before South Africa’s Constitutional Court that Mr Zuma should have his sentence rescinded.

Judges on the court said they would consider the arguments and announce their decision at a later date.


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