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South Africa riots: The inside tale of Durban's anarchic week


The impromptu roadblocks and mountains of trash in the port city of Durban have been swept away two weeks after South Africa was gripped by a frenzy of theft and burning - the worst scenes of violence since the country's 1994 democratic transition.

Soldiers, on the other hand, continue to monitor sensitive neighborhoods that have been ravaged by a week of chaos that has claimed the lives of over 300 people.

She remembered watching in fear and disgust as overworked local cops did nothing to stop the carnage.

"I'm afraid it might happen again. But where do I go from here? So, what do I do now? I had 12 employees who I couldn't afford to pay. The authorities paid little attention to this "She said this as she stood in her plundered hair salon on a street where every shop appeared to have been emptied out, and several had been set on fire.

'Orchestrated' riots

Sihle Zikalala, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal province, described the situation as "a catastrophe" during a crisis meeting with national and provincial authorities.

Mr Zikalala had previously been chastised for urging that former President Jacob Zuma be released from prison to help calm the situation.

Zuma's imprisonment for contempt of court started the turmoil, prompting accusations that he and his cronies were plotting to destabilize South Africa's fledgling democracy.

"It was begun and orchestrated on purpose... and had an element of state undermining - an insurgency, "Mr. Zikalala continued.

"Anyone involved in encouraging, planning, or supporting disruption must be detained and prosecuted," Mr Zikalala stated, despite the fact that "many, many people are very angry with [Zuma's] incarceration."

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