Looting and violence in South Africa reflect inequalities exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic – .

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Looting and violence in South Africa reflect inequalities exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic – .


JOHANNESBURG — The violence and looting in parts of South Africa, sparked by the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma, spreads to reflect deeper issues in the continent’s most developed economy, where a third containment pandemic is exacerbating economic pain and unemployment that has disproportionately affected the poor.
Police, now bolstered by a small deployment of troops, fought for a third day to contain the crowds ransacking warehouses and malls in the economic capital of Johannesburg and the port city of Durban. In hospitals, doctors already strained by a record wave of Covid-19 infections struggled to treat the injured, with many nurses and other staff unable to come to work due to the roadblocks roads and wider insecurity, officials said.
The country’s police department has warned that the continued blockage of some of South Africa’s main transport routes could within days lead to shortages of food and other essentials and mass rallies could provoke a further increase in Covid-19 cases. At least 72 people have died amid the instability, officials said on Tuesday, some trampled to death in the rush of shopping malls.
“People are tired and frustrated with the whole situation,” said Abram Lekganyane, who typically sells durags, sunglasses and masks at a stand at the Pan Africa Mall in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg. Mr Lekganyane said he checked his wares at a nearby warehouse and saw people leaving with everything from plasma TVs to audio systems and groceries.
“The spark may have been Zuma. Now it’s a revolution against containment because nothing is being provided, ”he said.

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