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South Africa’s Ramaphosa calls for unity amid wreckage of unrest

Al Jazeera, 19 Jul 2021
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has joined post-riot clean-up efforts as his government warned against vigilantism and sought to avert racial conflict following days of unrest.

The country was gripped by more than a week of chaos in which more than 200 people were killed as looters ransacked shopping centres and rioters torched key industrial infrastructure and blocked trade routes.

The violence was the worst in post-apartheid South Africa and was sparked after former President Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail on July 8 for snubbing a corruption inquiry. The protests widened into grievances over longstanding poverty and inequality.

His trial for corruption in a separate case is due to resume on Monday.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa, who has faced criticism over the response to the violence, told a crowd outside a mall in the Soweto township: “We all admit there were lapses … we will gather ourselves and do a proper review.”

Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith reports.

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