Mass looting as unrest spreads in South Africa, President Ramaphosa warns of food and medicine shortages

The initial riots erupted after the former President of South Africa Jacob Zuma was jailed on July 7, 2021 for contempt of court.

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Former president Jacob Zuma was given a 15-month jail term on June 29, 2021, for defying an order from the constitutional court by refusing to appear at an inquiry investigating high-level corruption during his nine years in power. 

At least 45 people have been killed during the days of violence and looting in South Africa. The death toll includes many individuals who were trampled during looting stampedes at shopping malls. However, the death toll may be higher than the official estimates due to how widespread the unrest is.

President Cyril Ramaphosa during a press conference warned of food and medicine shortages in the coming weeks due to the unrest and mass looting.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also said that “we will take action to protect every person in this country against the threat of violence, intimidation, theft and looting” and “We will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute those who perpetrate these actions and will ensure that they face the full might of our law.”

He also said that individuals “should join those individuals and communities who are working with the police to prevent looting,”.

In parts of South Africa, fuel shortages have already started with many stations closed.

The police in the region have been unable to quell the unrest, leaving many areas unprotected.

Several industry sectors have been impacted by the mass unrest and looting, leading some shopkeepers and community members to fire on looters. 

Factories and warehouses in the region have also been looted during the mass unrest.

Workers in the region are speaking out against what is happening to their livelihoods.

Solar panels are being stolen from structures in KwaZulu-Natal.

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