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The riots and looting that bloodied South Africa have left 276 dead, the government announced on Wednesday (July 21), revising upwards a previous death toll of 215.
“Since the unrest broke out, 234 related deaths have been recorded in Kwazulu-Natal [est] nowadays “Presidential Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said in a statement, reporting 42 deaths in Gauteng province, which includes the country’s two main cities, Johannesburg and Pretoria, the capital.
The police opened 168 murder investigations. Some of the deaths are due to jostling, falling objects and building fires.
The unrest erupted in Kwazulu-Natal on July 9, initially taking the form of riots following the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma for contempt of justice. They then spread, against a background of endemic unemployment and new restrictions against the Covid-19, reaching Johannesburg, to calm down at the beginning of the week.
The “Stability” returned to the two affected provinces, assured the minister, specifying that the police were carrying out “Sweeping operations to prevent any opportunistic action”. Six people, including a former public radio presenter, were arrested and prosecuted for inciting violence. Thousands more have been arrested for looting.
Economically, the government estimates that the violence will cost the economy 50 billion rand, or $ 3.4 billion, with the two affected regions accounting for half of the national GDP (gross domestic product).