As violence spreads across South Africa, the death toll has risen to 72.
Despite the army deployed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to try to quell rioting that has claimed 72 lives, stores and warehouses in South Africa were looted for the fifth day in a row on Tuesday.
As looting erupted in Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic hub, and the southeastern state of KwaZulu-Natal, the country’s main opposition accused extremists of fomenting the turmoil.
The military was sending 2,500 soldiers to assist the overburdened police.
However, these numbers pale in comparison to the more than 70,000 military deployed to enforce the coronavirus lockdown last year, and only a few soldiers were observed at certain retail malls.
The simmering turmoil began last Friday, when former President Jacob Zuma began serving a 15-month contempt sentence for snubbing a probe into the corruption that tarnished his nine years in authority.
It had spread to Gauteng province by the weekend.
“Since the start of these protests… the overall number of those who have died has grown to 72,” police said in a statement late Tuesday.
The majority of the deaths were caused by stampedes that happened after shoplifting episodes, according to the report.
Others were tied to bank ATM shootings and explosions.
The number of arrests has grown to 1,234, despite the fact that the ransacking sprees have involved thousands of people.
Earlier television footage showed hundreds of ladies, some in their robes, men, and even children marching inside a Soweto butcher and emerging with enormous crates of frozen meat balanced on their heads or shoulders.
Three hours later, police arrived and fired rubber bullets. Soldiers arrived soon after.
Hundreds of people poured into and out of a retail mall in Alexandra, a suburb north of Johannesburg, freely grabbing food.
Looters who talked to AFP said they were caught up in the rush or saw an opportunity to improve a life that had been ravaged by poverty.
“I’m not worried about Zuma at all. “He’s a corrupt old man who ought to be locked up,” a 30-year-old car wash employee stated.
He acknowledged to removing stainless-steel pans, meat, and supplies from the store for his mother.
People in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, carried packaged refrigerators through bushes to a large queue of automobiles stopped along a roadway.
Aerial footage from Durban showed hundreds of people robbing a large shopping mall and hauling away huge boxes of merchandise.
A mother was caught on camera throwing her kid from the first floor of a building. Brief News from Washington Newsday.