Dozens Dead Amid Chaotic Stampedes, Looting in South Africa

The death toll in South Africa has risen to 32 as looting and violence continue in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces following the conviction of former President Jacob Zuma. Many deaths occurred amid chaotic stampedes as food, appliance, liquor and clothing stores were looted.

"Yesterday's events brought a lot of sadness," KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said Tuesday. "The number of people who have died in KwaZulu-Natal alone stands at 26. Many of them died from being trampled on during a stampede while people were looting items."

Local police and 2,500 military soldiers have made a few arrests but are struggling to contain the violence.

South Africa Military
Dozens of people have died in South Africa as looting and stampedes continue following the conviction of former President Jacob Zuma. Above, South Africa National Defense Force soldiers and South African Police Service officers detain suspected looters at the Jabulani Mall in Soweto on Tuesday. LUCA SOLA/AFP via Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Looting continued Tuesday in Johannesburg shopping malls in township areas including the Jabulani Mall and the Dobsonville Mall in Soweto. There were also reports of continued looting in centers in KwaZulu-Natal.

The violence started in KwaZulu-Natal last week as protests against the imprisonment of Zuma, who began serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court. He was convicted of defying a court order to testify before a state-backed inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his term as president from 2009 to 2018.

The sporadic pro-Zuma violence spiraled into a spree of criminal theft in poor, township areas of the two provinces, according to witnesses. So far, the lawlessness has not spread to South Africa's other nine provinces.

The Constitutional Court, the country's highest court, heard Zuma's application to have his sentence rescinded on Monday. Zuma's lawyer presented his arguments that the top court made errors when sentencing Zuma to prison. After 10 hours of testimony on Monday, the court judges said they would study the arguments and announce their decision at a later date.

Looting South Africa
A woman walks past a fire truck as it extinguishes flames in a looted store in the Alexandra township in Johannesburg on Monday. Yeshiel Panchia/AP Photo