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South Africa faces rioting over jailing of ex-leader Zuma

Roads have been blocked, shops looted and 62 people have been arrested in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

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A family member reacts after police officers removed the body of his brother, who was found inside a burned shop, in Johannesburg, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

A family member reacts after police officers removed the body of his brother, who was found inside a burned shop, in Johannesburg, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

A family member reacts after police officers removed the body of his brother, who was found inside a burned shop, in Johannesburg, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Violent rioting has erupted in two South African provinces against the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, with supporters blocking roads and looting shops.

At least 62 people were arrested, South Africa police have said.

Zuma started serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court last week.

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Former president Jacob Zuma (Shiraaz Mohamed/AP)

Former president Jacob Zuma (Shiraaz Mohamed/AP)

AP/PA Images

Former president Jacob Zuma (Shiraaz Mohamed/AP)

He has been imprisoned for defying a court order to testify before a state-backed inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his term as president from 2009 to 2018.

His bid to be released from the Estcourt Correctional Centre was rejected by a regional court on Friday. He is set to make another attempt on Monday with the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court.

The rioting by Zuma’s supporters began in his home region of KwaZulu-Natal province last week and over the weekend spread to Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city.

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Several hundred people looted and burned stores in the Alexandra and Bramley neighbourhoods of Johannesburg, according to a statement by police Major General Mathapelo Peters.

The body of a 40-year-old man was recovered from a shop that had been burned and police are investigating the circumstances, he said.

In addition, at least three police officers were injured when trying to arrest looters and one was hospitalised, according to the statement.

Police said they are increasing capacity in both provinces and warned Zuma’s supporters against inciting violence on social media, saying they could become liable for criminal charges.


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