Violence in South Africa Photograph:( Reuters )
The unrest started as protests over former president Jacob Zuma's jailing two weeks ago in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal
Rioting in South Africa this month has claimed 337 lives, the government said on Thursday, marking yet another jump in the death toll from the 276 announced the previous day.
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 South African police has revised the total number of deaths in Gauteng (province) to 79 and KwaZulu-Natal to 258 as related to the unrest," said Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, a minister in the president's office, adding that some of the latest deaths were of people succumbing to injuries sustained during the riots.
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.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the unrest is stabilising and calm has been restored to most of the affected areas, but the destruction will cost the country billions of rand.
(With inputs from agencies)