Ongoing demonstrations against the arrest of former South African leader Jacob Zuma have turned Johannesburg upside down, with troops called in to stop widespread looting. The chaos has led to numerous deaths.
Retail outlets in several areas of South Africa’s largest city were nearly gutted by mobs that surged through the city’s poorer neighborhoods on Monday. Looters reportedly got away with a range of booty, from television sets to microwave ovens. Clothing stores, liquor stores and pharmacies were also pillaged in certain areas, according to media reports. Roadways were also blocked with burning tires as police tried to contain the unrest. One clip posted on social media showed a car set on fire blocking a road.
Footage published by RT’s video agency Ruptly shows heavily armed security personnel surveying the orgy of destruction in the city. Police armed with shotguns and unidentified individuals carrying what appear to be assault rifles were filmed patrolling ransacked stores. Merchandise and debris can be seen littering the floors as the security forces move through one of the targeted shopping malls.
At least 10 people were killed and more than 490 arrested during “acts of public violence rarely seen in the history of our democracy,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address broadcast to the nation Monday night. Authorities have recovered at least two bodies that appeared to have gunshot wounds.
According to media reports, as of Tuesday, an additional 22 people have been killed in the ongoing unrest, although it’s not clear whether the casualties occurred in Johannesburg.
South Africa descended into internal turmoil last week when Zuma began serving a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court, following his refusal to provide testimony to investigators looking into allegations of corruption during his tenure as president.