South Africa unrest prompts fears of food and fuel shortages
Unrest raged in South Africa on Wednesday for the sixth day running, stoking fears of food and fuel shortages as disruption to farming, manufacturing and oil refining began to bite.
Seventy-two people have died and more than 1,200 people have been arrested, according to official figures, since former president Jacob Zuma began a 15-month jail term, sparking protests that swiftly turned violent.
In the port city of Durban, people started queueing outside food stores and at fuel stations as early as 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) when the Covid night curfew ends, an AFP photographer saw.
The firm said the refinery was “temporarily shut down… due to the civil unrest and disruption of supply routes in and out of KwaZulu-Natal.”
“It’s inevitable that we will have fuel shortages in the next couple of days or weeks,” Layton Beard, spokesman for South Africa’s Automobile Association, told AFP.
Outside a branch of a popular supermarket in northern Durban’s Eastman region, around 400 people started lining up to buy food, hours before the shop was due to open.
“It has created disruption to the coronavirus vaccine rollout and deliveries to hospitals,” he told AFP.
“We need the restoration of law and order as soon as possible, because we are going to have a massive humanitarian crisis,” van der Rheede told AFP.
Stores and warehouses have been targeted by looters despite the deployment of 2,500 troops by President Cyril Ramaphosa to help the overwhelmed police force.
Only a handful of soldiers have been seen at some shopping centres.
The pillaging swiftly followed protests over the jailing of former president Zuma, who is viewed by radicals and many grassroots members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) as a defender of the poor.
He started serving the term on Thursday after handing himself in to authorities. He is seeking to have the ruling set aside