South Africa police minister says they won't allow rioters to make a 'mockery of our democracy'

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By Thomas Blade  with AP
South Africa police minister says they won't allow rioters to make a 'mockery of our democracy'
Copyright  Themba Hadebe/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Police in South Africa are stepping up efforts to quell violence and looting that erupted around the country in the last few days.

Seventy-two people have been killed and up to 1500 injured with hundreds of stores having been looted and destroyed following the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.

South Africa's police minister, Bheki Cele, gave an update on the unrest and said that the current situation was under surveillance.

"We will ensure that it does not deteriorate any further. We cannot allow anyone to make a mockery of our democratic state, and we have instructed the law enforcement agencies to double their efforts to stop the violence and to increase deployment on the ground," Cele said.

The government have deployed 2,500 military personal to aid police officers who have been overwhelmed by the endless waves of looters.

Ayanda Dlodlo, South Africa Minister of State Security, says that criticism towards the government is unwarranted given all they have done.

"They were averted by the fact that we did supply this information and the police did act on this information. What we are seeing now is what we are seeing now. But what we did not see is because the work of state security agency and the police, the machinery was working on overdrive," she said.

The current situation has been exacerbated by a number of issues.

More than half of South Africa's 60 million people are living in poverty, with an unemployment rate of 32%.

The pandemic has increased job layoffs and with hunger and desperation reaching a boiling point, Zuma’s arrest became a catalyst for the violence.