Death toll in South Africa riots rises to 276, minister says

Updated: July 22nd, 2021 06:05 PM IST

Death toll in South Africa riots rises to 276, minister says

Death toll in South Africa riots rises to 276, minister says Photo

A member of a hazardous waste cleanup crew walks to clean up a warehouse which was burned during days of looting following the imprisonment of former South African President Jacob Zuma, in Durban, South Africa, July 17, 2021. REUTERS/Rogan Ward/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG, July 21 (Reuters) - The death toll from recent riots in South Africa has risen to 276, and police are investigating 168 cases for murder, a cabinet minister said on Wednesday.

The unrest started as protests over former president Jacob Zumas jailing two weeks ago in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal. But it quickly escalated into arson and looting, and spread to Gauteng province where the biggest city Johannesburg is located. read more

The scale of the destruction and loss of life, which was fuelled by poverty and inequality that persist almost three decades after the end of apartheid in 1994, is still becoming clear. The death toll had stood at 215 on Monday.

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, acting minister in the presidency, told a news conference there were now 234 deaths linked to the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and 42 in Gauteng.

Authorities have managed to bring the violence under control. But the economic cost is estimated at 20 billion rand ($1.37 billion) in KwaZulu-Natal alone, as 161 shopping malls, 11 warehouses and eight factories were extensively damaged. The extent of the damage in Gauteng is still being collated. read more

Madagascan police this week arrested six people, including a foreign national, on suspicion of plotting to kill the president, after months of investigation, officials said.

At least 17 Bengali migrants drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy from Libya, while more than 380 were rescued by the coastguard, the Tunisian Red Crescent said on Wednesday.

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