South Africa is battling its worst unrest since the end of apartheid with shopkeepers firing at looters and a woman throwing her baby from a burning mall roof as violence sparked by the jailing of 79-year-old ex-president Jacob Zuma last week.
Zuma, 79, was sentenced to 15 months in prison by South Africa’s top court for contempt of court following his refusal to appear before graft investigators. He was picked up and dumped in jail last week, leading to days of unrest across the country.
The death toll rose to 45 on Tuesday, July 13. Many of the deaths occurred in chaotic stampedes as scores of people looted food, electrical appliances, liquor and clothing from retail centres, KwaZulu-Natal province premier Sihle Zikalala told the press on Tuesday morning.
Protesters clashed with security forces in several areas of South Africa and looters ransacked shopping malls.
“Yesterday’s events brought a lot of sadness. The number of people who have died in KwaZulu-Natal alone stands at 26. Many of them died from being trampled on during a stampede while people were looting items,” said Zikalala.
Most stores have been damaged and completely looted. The looters made away with anything they could lay hands on, including coffins, live pigs, pig carcasses, and more.
In the video below, a line of shop and property owners fired on the rioters from afar before running closer and continuing to shoot, while the crowds protected themselves behind road signs and ran off the road amid the chaos.
Some Indian and White property owners resorted to firing to protect their shops from looting as chaos and looting is happening in many major cities of South Africa. pic.twitter.com/2ZCC58yPgv
— Enemy Slayer (@EnemySlayer24_7) July 12, 2021
— Daily Post (@Dailypostn) July 13, 2021
The army has been called in to help stem the unrest after fearful citizens began forming ‘defence squads’ to protect their homes and businesses amid warnings that food supplies could soon run short as supermarket owners shut up shop amid the widespread looting.