Native South African Lara Logan joins ‘Ingraham Angle’ on Fox News to discuss the contentious protests: ‘a particularly distressing situation.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday he might order more troops onto the streets as the army and police struggled to quell days of looting and violence, while some citizens armed themselves to protect their property and businesses from the rampage.
More than 70 people have been killed in the unrest, the worst in South Africa for years, and hundreds of businesses wrecked. Food and fuel supplies are running short.
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Triggered by the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma last week after he failed to appear at a corruption inquiry, it has widened into an orgy of looting and an outpouring of anger over the hardship and inequality that persist in South Africa 27 years after the end of apartheid.
Shopping malls and warehouses have been ransacked or set ablaze in several cities, mostly in Zuma’s home in KwaZulu-Natal province, especially the Indian Ocean port city of Durban, and the financial and economic centre Johannesburg and surrounding Gauteng province.
The National Hospital Network (NHN), representing 241 public hospitals already under strain from Africa’s worst COVID-19 outbreak, said it was running out of oxygen and drugs, most of which are imported through Durban, as well as food.
“The impact of the looting and destruction is having dire consequences on hospitals,” the NHN said. “And the epicentre of the pandemic is within the affected provinces currently under siege.” Staff in affected areas were unable to get to work, it said, worsening shortages caused by a third wave of infections.
Though triggered by Zuma’s jailing, the unrest reflects growing frustration at failures by the ruling African National Congress to address inequality decades after the end of white minority rule in 1994 ushered in democracy.
Roughly half the population lives below the poverty line, according to the latest government figures from 2015, and growing joblessness since the pandemic has left many desperate. Unemployment stood at a new record high of 32.6 per cent in the first three months of 2021.