Sumary of Why South Africa Just Suffered Its Worst Riots Since Apartheid:
- By Mike Cohen | Bloomberg, The jailing of South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, in July triggered protests that devolved into the worst violence — at least 215 people dead during days of rampant looting and arson — the country has seen since the end of apartheid in 1994. The upheaval wasn’t just about politics, though.
- He refused and charged that acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who is heading the inquiry, was biased against him (an allegation Zondo denies).
- South Africa already had one of the world’s most unequal societies: The top fifth of the population receive more than 68% of income, compared with 47% for an index of emerging markets, data published by the International Monetary Fund in 2020 showed.
- The unrest cost the country about $3.4 billion in lost output and placed 150,000 jobs at risk, according to the South African Property Owners Association.
- Ramaphosa said the so-called basic income grant was under “serious consideration,” and discussions are under way to determine its feasibility.
- Politically, the violence has undermined the current president, Cyril Ramaphosa’s authority and placed the ruling African National Congress at risk of losing its grip on KwaZulu-Natal province, the second-largest, with 11.5 million people, in a country of about 60 million.