At least 45 people have been killed in the unrest that broke out last week in South Africa when former president Jacob Zuma handed himself over to authorities for 15-months sentence.
Zuma, 79, was sentenced last month for defying a constitutional court order to give evidence at an inquiry investigating high-level corruption during his nine years in office until 2018.
Warehouses and supermarkets in Durban, one of the busiest shipping terminals on the African continent and a major import-export hub were raided by hundreds of looters with smoke swirling from burning buildings as items from burgled shops lay strewn by the side of the road.
In an address on Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned that “the looting of shopping centres, pharmacies and disruption to supply chains could lead to food and medicine shortages in the coming weeks, as well as disruption to the coronavirus vaccination drive.”
“No amount of unhappiness or personal circumstances from our people gives the right to anyone to loot, vandalise and do as they please and break the law,” Police Minister, Bheki Cele told a news conference on Tuesday.
Cele said 757 people had been arrested so far. He said the government would act to prevent it from spreading further and warned that people would not be allowed “to make a mockery of our democratic state”.
The rand which had been one of the best performing emerging market currencies during the pandemic dropped sharply and was trading down 1.5% against the U.S. dollar at 1630 GMT on Monday.