South Africa: Death toll from rioting rises to 337

Rioting in South Africa this month killed 337 people, the government said on Thursday, marking a further jump in the death toll from the 276 announced the previous day.

“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.

She added that some of the latest deaths were of people succumbing to injuries sustained during the riots.

Widespread looting and burning of businesses broke out earlier this month, a day after former President Jacob Zuma began serving a 15-month jail term for ignoring a corruption inquiry.

The violence escalated into the worst unrest since the end of apartheid, prompting President Cyril Ramaphosa to label it an attempted “insurrection”.

Violence spread through Zuma’s home province KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which together account for half of South Africa’s economic output.

Authorities have managed to bring the violence under control. But the economic cost is estimated at 20 billion rand ($1.36 billion) in KwaZulu-Natal alone, as 161 shopping malls, 11 warehouses and eight factories were extensively damaged.

Zuma was on Thursday allowed to briefly leave jail in the southeastern town of Estcourt to attend the funeral of his brother Michael, who died from an illness several days after the ex-president was put behind bars.