More Than 70 People Killed In Violent South Africa Riots

by : Daniel Richardson on : 14 Jul 2021 10:22
More Than 70 People Killed In Violent South Africa RiotsPA Images

72 people have died after riots broke out in South Africa following the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma.

The riots, which erupted in response to 79-year-old Zuma being jailed for failing to cooperate with a corruption probe, began last week in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. Zuma is set to serve 15-months in prison.


Since the initial riots, Lenmed Hospital in Durban has been set ablaze, looters have been shot with rubber bullets by police, and 10 people were trampled to death during a stampede caused by looting.

Police Major General Mathapelo Peters said in a statement on Tuesday night, July 13, that thousands of people stole food, electric appliances, liquor and clothing from stores, which led to many deaths. Additionally, the police are investigating explosions that occurred when people tried to break into ATMs, as well as incidences of shopkeepers reportedly shooting looters.

On the back of these violent incidents, Peters said 27 deaths were being investigated in KwaZulu-Natal province and 45 in Gauteng province.


The army is now involved in attempts to suppress the riots. ‘Defence Squads’ have been set up to protect the homes of citizens, businesses and food, Reuters reports. The protection of food has been sparked by concerns the looting will lead to shortages in supplies.

Despite the deployment of 2,500 soldiers who are tasked with helping the police, the looting has persisted. Authorities said there have been 1,234 arrests, MailOnline reports, but the issues of civil unrest continue.

Barricades have now been set up in shopping malls, but the violence has led to huge disruption across South Africa. Notably, COVID-19 vaccination centres have had to shut down, although the country has been desperately trying to provide jabs for its population over the age of 50.


Alex FM radio station, a community-funded broadcaster that has been running for 27 years, was also taken off the air. The station was broken into at 2.00am local time, and thieves stole equipment worth 5 million rand ($350,000). Fortunately, the staff managed to escape safely.

More Than 70 People Killed In Violent South Africa RiotsPA

Station manager Takalane Nemangowe told The Associated Press:

Our on-air presenter and security guards got out safely through the back door ‘But the looters cleaned out our offices. They took all our broadcasting equipment, computers, laptops, microphones, everything.


This incident is not isolated, and the authorities continue to struggle to handle the thousands of people who have begun rioting and looting.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. These included the likes of The Hook, WhatCulture and Game Rant. Eventually, Dan found a home for his journalism at UNILAD.

Topics: News, no-article-matching, Now, Riots, South Africa


Associated Press and 1 other
  1. Associated Press

    Deaths climb to 72 in South Africa riots after Zuma jailed

  2. Reuters

    South Africa deploys army to quell unrest linked to Zuma jailing