What is happening in South Africa; Here’s everything you need to know


South Africa has deployed its army to quell the increasingly destructive riots, looting, vandalism and arson that have swept the country as former President Jacob Zuma is sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for defying a corruption probe while in office. He maintains his innocence and says he will be “a prisoner of conscience.”

At least 45 protesters have been killed in the crackdown.
Police fired rubber bullets at looters on Wednesday July 14, while more shops and buildings were ransacked with dozens reported killed as grievances unleashed by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma boiled over into the worst violence in years.

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 and the police ministry 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.

At least 45 people have been killed and 200 arrested since the unrest began last week. Zuma was convicted of contempt of court after failing to attend an inquiry into corruption during his presidency. The 79-year-old, who denies corruption, handed himself in to police last week to begin his 15-month sentence.

He is hoping to get the sentence rescinded or reduced at the Constitutional Court hearing. However, legal experts 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 jailed before.


The Government has deployed soldiers onto the streets to try to contain it, but stopped short of declaring a state of emergency. Troops were moved into flashpoints on Wednesday as outnumbered police seemed helpless to stop the unrest. Columns of armoured personnel carriers rolled down major roads.

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