Africa

Relative calm returns to parts of S.Africa after week of violence

Riots, looting broke out last Thursday over jailing of former President Jacob Zuma

Hassan Isilow   | 15.07.2021
Relative calm returns to parts of S.Africa after week of violence A general view of Soweto region which became the center of violations and looting, during South Africa's violent protests against the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma, in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 15, 2021. Nearly a week after the imprisonment of former South African President Jacob Zuma triggered violent protests, community members and local policing forums have started working to protect businesses from being looted. ( Murat Özgür Güvendik - Anadolu Agency )

JOHANNESBURG

A relative calm prevailed Thursday in parts of South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, which has witnessed sporadic looting and violence for nearly a week.

A few small retail shops were open in the city center while many larger businesses remained closed.

There was also relative calm on the streets of Alexandra township, north of Johannesburg, and Vosloorus township in Ekurhuleni, East Rand region where sporadic looting was witnessed for most of the week.

“It is quiet today, but all shops are closed here. We can’t get to buy bread, not even a tomato. All shops were looted in this area,” Naledi Pretty, a resident of extension 14 in Vosloorus, told Anadolu Agency.

Pretty said she has to board a taxi and travel several kilometers to buy bread and other necessities which were previously available only a short distance from her house.

Clean up exercises have begun in most areas that were looted.

In Mayfair, a suburb of Johannesburg home to hundreds of migrants, shops and restaurants opened after most had been closed for days. There were no incidents of looting recorded in Mayfair and its surroundings.

Violent riots and looting first broke out last Thursday over the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma.

The protests that began in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, later spread to Johannesburg and had been ongoing for days.

Major shopping venues in the two most densely populated provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have been ransacked and some set on fire.

Vehicles and trucks were also burned by groups of protesters calling for Zuma's release.

Zuma, 79, started serving a prison term for contempt of court in KwaZulu-Natal last Wednesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday authorized defense forces to support police in restoring order.

On Wednesday, the government added 25,000 military personnel to the streets of KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg to quell the unrest. They were already 5,000 troops on the ground.


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