South Africa: Zulu king condemns violence and begs for peace

King Misuzulu Zulu, head of South Africa’s biggest ethnic group, the Zulu people, called for an end to riots and looting in a speech on Wednesday.

Across South Africa, violence and theft have erupted for the sixth day in a row, stoking concerns of food and fuel shortages as the country’s worst unrest in decades has begun to take its toll on agriculture, manufacturing, and oil refinery.

The outpouring of fury over former President Jacob Zuma’s detention has resulted in the deaths of more than 70 people as complaints about his imprisonment have grown into a broader outpouring of rage against the injustice that persists 27 years after the end of apartheid.

King Misuzulu has called for an end to the violence that has brought “great shame on all of us”… this chaos is destroying the economy, and it is the poor who will suffer the most,” he added.

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Stick-wielding protestors march through the streets as violence erupts in the country’s economic hub Johannesburg, South Africa, July 11, 2021, | Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

According to new reports on Tuesday, a community radio station was ransacked and forced to go off the air. Some COVID-19 vaccination centers were closed, delaying the delivery of desperately needed vaccinations. More than 1,750 people have been arrested due to the lawlessness raging in impoverished areas of two provinces. 

According to authorities, many of the fatalities in the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal happened as a result of uncontrolled stampedes caused by hundreds of individuals stealing food, electrical equipment, liquor, and clothes from shops.

The deployment of 2,500 troops to assist the overburdened South African police has so far failed to put a halt to the looting on a widespread scale.

According to a minister, the government is working with the Consumer Council to guarantee that there are no food shortages as a result of widespread looting of shopping malls, warehouses, and other commercial properties.

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