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South Africa sends 25,000 soldiers to stop looting

DW, 15 Jul 2021
Shocking images of smashed windows, destroyed metal security doors and stores stripped of anything worth stealing have gripped South Africa. Uniformed police officers have stood by as looters made off with boxes of stolen goods, and small store owners were left picking through the wreckage of their businesses. Videos of people showing off looted items have streamed alongside shots of the army patrolling the streets.

Numbers give only an indicator of the damage to South Africa over the last few days. Over 70 dead, more than 1,200 arrested for looting and at least 200 shopping malls across the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces ransacked. Those provinces include the major cities of Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban.

The full economic cost of the unrest is yet to be counted, but eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda in KwaZulu-Natal told reporters more than 15 billion rand (about $1 billion/€875 million) worth of property and equipment had been damaged, affecting 40,000 businesses. COVID-19 vaccine centers were forced to close in affected areas, and clinics and pharmacies were not spared in the looting either.

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