Civil Unrest in South Africa

Most violence recorded in South Africa since before the end of apartheid

A pillaged shopping mall in South Africa with rubbish strewn across the floorA looted shopping mall in Durban, South Africa

Former South Africa President Jacob Zuma was arrested last week for failing to turn up to a government commission investigating corruption during presidency. His arrest sparked a wave of violent protests across the country which have still not been suppressed.

Police ran out of ammunition quickly and were unable to control the protesting. The several thousand-strong mass of looters to lay waste to large parts of Durban and Johannesburg in the eastern half of South Africa. Looters have pillaged many shops and set their sights on peoples’ homes, causing widespread fear and panic. Ordinary citizens have no choice but to arm themselves and fend them off.

“We don’t want to kill, but the government is making communities fight for themselves.”

A resident in Durban said: “Last night was just a mess. We had 150 guys trying to enter our estate. We fired at them and eventually they ran away but a lot of us got injured in the process. We don’t want to kill, but the government is making communities fight for themselves.”

Bulelani Phillip, Parliamentary Correspondent at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (BASC), tweeted, “Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the protests have been an eye opener, learning curve and they were caught with their pants down. She says they undermine the state, are counter revolutionary and the state must stamp its authority.”

There has been little international coverage of events to the bafflement of South Africans. They are enthralled in the most violent protests since before the end of apartheid. With no mention of aid from their government, there is little hope for international intervention.

The current death toll lies around 70, with the actual number likely being far higher. BBC footage shows dead bodies scattered across neighbourhoods and main roads, evidence of the bloodshed that has occurred.

Neighbourhoods have been working together. Another South African told us that he hadn’t slept for three days as he had been standing guard on his barricaded street with neighbours. If looters try to come near their homes, they shoot at them until they run away. Many women and children have spent the last few days keeping their heads down on the grounds of their own homes as gunfights erupt outside.

Unless the government can put a stop to the mass of violent looters, a full blown civil war could unravel very soon which would truly split the fractured country in half.

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