After 14 days of violent protests against the arrest of former South African President Jacob Zuma, the death toll rose to 337 in South Africa, announced the acting Minister of the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, on Thursday (22). Until this Wednesday (21), the official number was 276.
The acts, which began on July 9, quickly led to a wave of vandalism. Protesters armed with bats, golf clubs and pieces of wood ransacked shops and burned buildings. On July 12, the country’s army announced that it would send troops into the streets of two of its main provinces, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
In the mostly Indian city of Phoenix, 20 people, all black, were murdered during the recent wave of violence.
In the midst of funeral songs, Linda Dlamini mourned her brother’s death. Njabulo Dlamini, 31, was gunned down on 12 July while working on his taxi in the city. Accompanied by friends, Njabulo was on his way to a work rush when the group was intercepted by “watchmen,” Linda told AFP. He slept in the backseat.
“He woke up and started running, but he was shot in the head,” Linda said through her tears. “After that they beat him, leaving several scars on his head.”
When police arrived, the attackers were about to burn her brother and one of his friends alive, Linda said. They were taken to hospital, but Njabulo could not resist. The crimes in Phoenix are being called racism. Local police said they will investigate the case.
On July 18, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accompanied cleanup crews through the rubble of a looted shopping center in the city of Soweto. The attacks have already caused nearly $1.2 million in damage to the country.
The former South African president received permission to attend his brother’s funeral this Thursday (22), which took place in the city of Nkandla, in the east of the country, local authorities said.
After the outbreak of violence, the trial of Zuma, arrested in contempt of court after ignoring summons during an investigation into corruption in his government, was resumed through a virtual hearing on 19 July. He is on trial for bribes that would have taken place more than 20 years ago.