Death Toll From Violence and Looting Now Stands At 117, Says Acting Minister In The Presidency

Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says death toll from recent unrest now stands stands at 117. PHOTO: GCIS

THE death toll of the unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has reached 117 as of Thursday, and over 1,700 people have been arrested. 

Twenty six people have died in Gauteng and 91 in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The announcement was made by Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Thursday.

Ntshavheni has also defended the Cabinet, following accusations that ministers within the Security and Economic clusters have been lying low during recent protests and ongoing looting in the country.

She added that 12 instigators of violence have been identified but no names have been released out of fear that it will jeopardise investigations.

According to authorities, most of the deaths in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces “relate to stampedes that occurred during incidents of looting of shops” when thousands of people stole food, electric appliances, liquor and clothing from stores.

Others were linked to shootings and explosions of bank ATMs.

The violence was triggered by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma as his supporters took to the streets last week, but the situation has evolved into an outpouring of anger over persistent poverty and inequality in South Africa 27 years after the end of apartheid.

The economic effects of COVID-19 restrictions have exacerbated the problems.

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

The number of troops deployed doubled to 5,000.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said she had submitted a request for the deployment of 25,000 soldiers to the two provinces hit by violence – KwaZulu-Natal, where Durban is located, and Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg.

The SANDF said the reserve members were expected to report for duty with their necessary equipment.

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