Death toll from KZN, Gauteng unrest rises to 337

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni confirmed this on Thursday afternoon, saying 79 people passed away as a result of the unrest in Gauteng and 258 in KwaZulu-Natal.

Police arrest suspected looters following riots in Alexandra on 12 July 2021. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The number of dead people following a week of rolling violence and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has risen to 337.

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni confirmed this on Thursday afternoon, saying 79 people passed away as a result of the unrest in Gauteng and 258 in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Of the reported deaths in Gauteng to date, 42 cases of murder have been opened and 37 inquest dockets have been opened. In KwaZulu-Natal, 171 cases of murder have been opened and 87 inquest dockets have been opened. The SAPS have to date opened 132 cases of arson in KwaZulu-Natal.”

Ntshavheni said there had been no new incidents of looting or vandalism in either province and government considered the situation to be stable.

She also dismissed reports of attacks on the N1.

“We urge the public to regard as fake news claims that there have been incidents along the N1. Law enforcement agencies have verified that both the N3 and the N2 are fully secured and operating smoothly.”

Widespread looting and burning of businesses broke out earlier this month, a day after ex-president Jacob Zuma started serving a 15-month jail term for ignoring a corruption inquiry.

The violence escalated into the worst unrest since the end of apartheid, prompting President Cyril Ramaphosa to label it an attempted "insurrection".

Violence spread through Zuma's home province KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the two most populous provinces, which together account for half of South Africa's economic output.

The violence has abated, and six people including a radio DJ have so far been arrested on charges of incitement to commit public violence.

Several thousand more are being held for looting and arson.

Additional reporting by AFP.

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