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Death toll in South Africa riots rises to 337

THE death toll from recent riots in South Africa has risen to 337, with 258 people killed in KwaZulu-Natal and 79 in Gauteng, the two provinces where the violence was concentrated.

The new figures were announced by Khumbuzo Ntshaveni, the acting Minister in the Presidency, at a media briefing. The death toll was revised up from the 276 that was announced on Wednesday.

The unrest started as protests over former president Jacob Zuma’s jailing two weeks ago in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal. But it quickly escalated into arson and looting and spread to Gauteng province where the biggest city Johannesburg is located.

The scale of the destruction and loss of life, which was fuelled by poverty and inequality that persist almost three decades after the end of apartheid in 1994, is still becoming clear.

Authorities have managed to bring the violence under control. But the economic cost is estimated at 20 billion rand ($1.37 billion) in KwaZulu-Natal alone, as 161 shopping malls, 11 warehouses and eight factories were extensively damaged. The extent of the damage in Gauteng is still being collated.

By The African Mirror