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Violent protests in South Africa: ‘A very desperate situation’

The army was deployed in two South African provinces to stem the insurgency that has been going on for a few days. The protests began in the KwaZulu-Natal region, Jacob Zuma’s hometown, after former President Jacob Zuma began his prison sentence, and spread to Gauteng county near Johannesburg.

The sentence against Zuma, who was sentenced to 15 months in prison for defying the court, came after he refused to participate in the trial on corruption charges since taking office from 2009-2018.

President Cyril Ramaphosa called for calm in a televised address Monday evening. He said violent protests were “rare in our democratic history”.

According to Hekan Goholt, Sweden’s ambassador to the country, the riots could not be considered support for Zuma.

– This is about Zuma’s tail, from his Zulu ethnic group. His popular support is lacking. He adds that the vast majority of South Africans want to see him in prison for rampant corruption during his presidency.

He says it was Zulu nationalists who started blocking roads and setting cars on fire. It then spread to criminal groups that looted stores.

On Monday morning, thousands of hungry and desperate South Africans joined. He says: I saw a woman who came out of a store with diapers and boxes in her hands.

‘A very miserable situation’

According to Louise Lindfors, Secretary-General of the African Groups, the protests are likely around the desperate situation in the country, with a third wave of infection spreading and the slow distribution of vaccine doses.

Now the terrible injustice has been exposed. The state has intervened to keep people off the streets. Schools were closed and closed. She says there are no support measures, it is a very desperate situation.

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The prison sentence is seen as a victory for Ramaphosa.

The ruling against Zuma came as a kind of frustration. From a Swedish perspective, we see that democracy triumphs when a head of state can be found guilty of corruption. But for many groups in the country, Zuma is an icon. Louise Lindfors says they don’t believe these accusations.