Violent protests have erupted in townships across South Africa over poor delivery of basic services and foreigners have again been caught up in the chaos. But Jacob Zuma’s new administration has vowed to crack down on violent protest.
Television footage show police firing rubber bullets and tear gas at township rioters. Several people have been arrested while scores have been hospitalised.
Zuma’ spokesman Vincent Magwenya said South Africa’s leader believed there was no justification for the violence. “While residents may have genuine grievances the president’s view is that there can be no excuse for violence or destruction of property,” he is quoted saying today.
The unrest, with scenes reminiscent of violence against foreigners in 2008 that killed 62 people, also undermined South Africa’s hope of showing a positive image less than a year before the country hosts the soccer World Cup.
Many say local officials of Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) have failed to provide jobs, housing, sanitation and medical services and have promoted a culture of nepotism.
Service delivery protests broke out in several informal settlements with residents burning tyres and blockading roads. Foreign nationals who run business have their enterprise looted and burnt.
As protests continue, police say 90 people all members of the South African Unemployed People’s Movement were arrested on Tuesday after storming into two supermarkets and helped themselves to food without paying.
Its leader said until the Zuma led government took them seriously they
would carry on with the action. “We want the government to provide the unemployed with R1 500 basic income grant. This is just the tip of the iceberg” she is quoted saying.
The arrested were caught feasting on roasted chicken, chips inside the stores while loading other goodies inside trolleys.