Crowds clashed with police on Tuesday night as widespread looting and vandalism engulfed South Africa once again. The unrest started last week after former President Jacob Zuma, 79, handed himself over to start a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court.
Zuma still has support in his home province KwaZulu-Natal and some poor, rural areas where his followers believe he is the victim of a political witch-hunt.
Protests that followed Zuma’s arrest have widened into looting and general anger at the vast inequality seen in South Africa.
The poverty that remains 27 years after the apartheid is a major reason hundreds of shops have been targeted in mass lootings.
Sky News Africa Correspondent John Sparks described the situation as “completely out of control” claiming the police were “nowhere to be seen”.
“The government is going to have to set up some sort of state of emergency because this is clearly out of control.
“There is no sense of self-restraint here, there is no respect for law and order,” Mr Sparks reported from Durban.
“It is very, very difficult for them to police this – they are completely overwhelmed,” he added.
READ MORE: South Africa riots latest: ‘Things are getting scary’
At least 72 people have died during the unrest.
Ten people were killed in a stampede while looting a shopping centre in Soweto on Monday.
A video circulating social media shows a baby being thrown to safety from a burning building during a riot.
Half of the country’s 35 million adults live below the poverty line and young people are disproportionately affected by unemployment, according to Statistics agency data.
Poverty has been exacerbated by severe social and economic restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Soldiers have been sent onto the streets to try to suppress the unrest.
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