International NewsWorld

Troops deployed against unrest sparked by former president’s detention

South Africa has deployed soldiers in response to deadly unrest sparked by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma.

On Monday, shops were loot and buildings set on fire as Zuma challenged his sentence at a High Court hearing.

At least six people have died and 200 have arrested since the unrest began last week after Zuma turned himself in and began serving a 15-month prison sentence.

Zuma was found guilty of contempt for failing to appear for a corruption investigation during his presidency.

The 79-year-old, who denies corruption, had hoped his conviction would be overturned or reduced at a Constitutional Court hearing. Legal experts, however, say his chances of success are slim.

The case has sparked an unprecedented legal drama in South Africa, which has never seen a former president in prison.

On Monday, a shopping Centre in Zuma’s hometown of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal was set on fire. Footage also showed other buildings and vehicles set on fire and shops looted.

BBC correspondent Nomsa Maseko reports from Pietermaritzburg that the situation in the city is unstable. He said protesters responded with live ammunition when riot police fired rubber bullets to disperse them at a shopping Centre that had been looted overnight.

Police said opportunistic criminals took advantage of the chaos.

The violence also spread to Johannesburg in Gauteng.

Protesters armed with sticks, golf clubs, and branches were seen marching through Johannesburg’s central business district on Sunday.

Some Covidien vaccination centers were forced to close for security reasons.

The army said troops would be deployed to support police and “quell the unrest that has gripped the two [provinces] in recent days”.

President Cyril called for calm and said there was no need for violence.

Zuma was convicted of disobeying orders to testify in a corruption investigation during his nine years in office.

He testified only once as part of the investigation into so-called “state capture”, or the siphoning off state assets.

In another legal matter, he pleaded not guilty last month in a corruption trial related to a $5bn (£3bn) arms deal in the 1990s.

His supporters believe he was the victim of political persecution orchestrated by Ramaphosa’s allies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button