In South Africa, violent protests against the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma have already claimed at least 40 lives in recent days, and more than 700 have been detained. This has been reported by the prime minister of KwaZulu-Natal province, the province where the protests are the strongest.
Violent protests have been going on in South Africa since former President Jacob Zuma turned himself into prison on Thursday. Chaos is especially prevalent in the provinces of Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng. There is looting, shops and cars are set on fire. Roadblocks are being set up.
According to Ben Michielsens, looting is mainly in large companies and shopping centres. The Belgian lives and works in the coastal town of Ballito, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. “Helicopters are used to disperse the people, but that makes little sense. At the moment, it is almost an open street war,” says Michielsens.
“In some places, retailers are taking matters into their own hands. They close their shops and are armed for their business”, Michielsens continues. He talks about an “agitated” situation.
At least 26 people have been killed in Kwazulu-Natal, the province’s prime minister said. In the province of Gauneng, protests are mainly in the city of Johannesburg, where 19 people have already been killed. Numerous injuries have also been reported.
“The police forces are severely understaffed; private security firms often assist them,” says Michielsens. He lives in a locked residence. He feels relatively safe, although the residents take turns to guard the gates of the residence.”
According to Michielsens, all shops in the region are closed, and the gas stations are also closed. In addition, several major roads have been closed as a result of the protests. “But there is great solidarity among the residents of the residence. We help each other where necessary,” it still sounds.
Current President Cyril Ramaphosa also warned about scarcity in a TV speech. “Within a few weeks time, this can create a great risk of food and medicine insecurity.” The president also said that anyone who loots would be punished.