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The South African military has deployed forces in two provinces following violence and looting that has seen a mall set ablaze, several killed and over 200 arrests after the imprisonment of ex-leader Jacob Zuma.

Violence and looting broke out for a fourth day on Monday following the high court’s decision to jail former president and anti-apartheid veteran Zuma over contempt of court.

Military personnel were sent out to Gauteng, where major cities Pretoria and Johannesburg are situated, and KwaZulu-Natal, the former president's home province, where he has many supporters.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) issued a statement on Monday stating it sent troops to “provide safety and a safe working environment for members of the SAPS [South African Police Service]”. 

Footage from various parts of KwaZulu-Natal purported to show images of widespread looting and damage to property. According to local media, rioters even set fire to Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg early on Monday morning. 

Over 200 people in the riot hotspots have been arrested, and at least six have lost their lives in the turbulent crisis, according to the police.

The current South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has condemned the destruction of property and slammed the actions of the violent protestors, saying they are “endangering lives and damaging our efforts to rebuild the economy”.

Whilst many of the protests are a direct response to Zuma’s imprisonment, unfavourable economic conditions and the coronavirus pandemic are thought to have exacerbated the situation. RT

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