A suspected looter pleads with a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier who is detaining suspected looters at the Jabulani mall in Soweto on the outskirts of Johannesburg on July 13, 2021. - Stores in two South African provinces were ransacked on July 13, 2021 for a fifth consecutive day, hours after South African President deployed troops in a bid to quell unrest that has claimed 45 lives. (Photo by Emmanuel Croset / AFP)

Death toll climbs as South Africa violence continue

Crowds clashed with police and ransacked or burned shopping malls in South Africa on Tuesday with dozens reported killed as grievances unleashed by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma boiled over into the worst violence in decades.

Protests that followed Zuma’s arrest last week have widened into looting and an outpouring of generalised anger over inequality that persists 27 years after the fall of apartheid.

Poverty has been exacerbated by severe social and economic restrictions aimed at blocking the spread of COVID-19.

Security officials said the government was working to halt the spread of the violence and looting, which has so far spread from Zuma’s home in KwaZulu-Natal province to Gauteng province surrounding the country’s biggest city Johannesburg.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced late on Monday he was dispatching troops to help overwhelmed police halt the unrest and “restore order”.