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The government says the death toll from days of violence has been reduced to 79 in Gauteng province and 258 in KwaZulu-Natal.
The riots in South Africa this month have claimed 337 lives, the government said on Thursday, marking a further jump in the death toll from the 276 announced the previous day.
“South African police have the total number of deaths in Gauteng. review [province] to 79 and KwaZulu-Natal to 258 due to the unrest,” said Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, a minister in the president’s office.
She added that some of the latest deaths were of people who succumbed to injuries sustained during the riots.
Earlier this month, widespread looting and burning of businesses broke out, a day after former President Jacob Zuma began serving a 15-month prison sentence for ignoring a corruption investigation.
The violence escalated into the worst unrest since the end of apartheid, prompting President Cyril Ramaphosa to call it an attempted “insurgency”.
The violence spread through Zuma’s home provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng – the two most populous provinces, which together account for half of South Africa’s economic output.
Zuma was allowed on Thursday get out of jail for a while in the southeastern town of Estcourt to attend the funeral of his brother Michael, who died of an illness just days after the ex-president was put behind bars.
Violence has abated and so far six people, including a radio DJ, have been arrested on charges of inciting public violence.
Several thousand more are being held for looting and arson.
The scale of the destruction and loss of life, fueled by poverty and inequality that has persisted for nearly three decades since the end of apartheid in 1994, is still becoming apparent.
The authorities have managed to bring the violence under control. But in KwaZulu-Natal alone, the economic cost is estimated at 20 billion rand ($1.36 billion) as 161 shopping malls, 11 warehouses and eight factories were badly damaged.
The extent of the damage in Gauteng is still being mapped.
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