The recent unrest in South Africa which can be referred to as the worst in years, has disrupted hospitals struggling to cope with a third wave of COVID-19 and forced the closure of a refinery.
Protests triggered by the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma for failing to appear at a corruption inquiry last week have escalated into looting and out pour of general anger over the hardship in the country.
The National Hospital Network, representing 241 public hospitals already under strain from Africa’s worst COVID-19 epidemic, said it was running out of oxygen and drugs, most of which are imported through Durban, as well as food.
Shopping malls and warehouses have been ransacked or set ablaze in several cities, mostly in Zuma’s home in KwaZulu-Natal province, and the economic center Johannesburg and surrounding Gauteng province.
Overnight it spread to two other provinces – Mpumalanga, just east of Gauteng, and Northern Cape, police said.
Media stations also showed more looting of shops in different parts of the country.
Meanwhile, soldiers have been deployed to help outnumbered police contain the unrest and order was being restored in some places on Wednesday, such as the northern Johannesburg township of Alexandra.
People have been looting shops and offices nonstop in South Africa since last week, defying government calls to end the violence that has killed more than 70 people and wrecked hundreds of businesses.