Jacob Zuma: South Africa Deploys Army To Quell Unrest Over Ex-president’s Jailing

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South Africa deployed soldiers on the streets, on Monday, to quell the violence that erupted in the wake of former president Jacob Zuma’s jailing, after days of riots left at least six people dead.

Police said disturbances were intensifying and 219 people had been arrested as the controversial ex-leader challenged his 15-month prison term in the country’s top court.

Smoke from burning buildings swirled in the air as items from burgled shops lay strewn by the side of the road in Pietermaritzburg in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

Read Also: VIDEO: Armed Citizens Fire on Rioters in Durban, South Africa

The sporadic pro-Zuma protests that broke out when he handed himself over last week have quickly escalated into looting and arson, mainly in KZN but also in Gauteng where the biggest city Johannesburg is.

Some COVID-19 vaccination sites in Gauteng have closed due to safety concerns, the provincial government said, further delaying a sluggish immunisation campaign.

Opportunistic criminals appear to be taking advantage of the anger some feel over Zuma’s incarceration to steal and cause destruction, police said.

A statement from the military said “pre-deployment processes had started” following a request for assistance from a government intelligence body, but a Reuters cameraman in Pietermaritzburg saw armed soldiers already in the streets.

In a virtual hearing on Monday, Zuma’s counsel asked the constitutional court to rescind his jail term, citing a rule that judgments can be reconsidered if made in the absence of the affected person or containing a patent error.

But legal experts say Zuma’s chances of success are slim.

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