South Africa Facing Potential Civil War Over Former President’s Arrest

South Africa has sent in troops to quell violent protests sparked by former Leader Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment.

On Monday, businesses were plundered and structures were set ablaze, while Zuma fought his sentencing in the Supreme Court.

The turmoil began earlier this month when Zuma surrendered himself in and started his 15-month term. Following this, six people were killed and 200 have been detained.

Zuma was found guilty of contempt of court after he failed to appear at a criminal investigation focused on activities throughout his administration.

At the constitutional criminal trial, the 79-year-old, who admits wrongdoing, hopes to have the sentence revoked or reduced.

Law scholars, on the other hand, believe his chances of victory are poor. The issue has triggered a legal saga in South Africa.

The Violence is at a Level Never Seen In the Country’s History

On Monday, a retail mall in Pietermaritzburg, Zuma’s home county of KwaZulu-Natal, was set on fire. Additional structures and cars were set ablaze, and businesses were plundered, according to the images.

Nomsa Maseko of the BBC reported in Pietermaritzburg that the atmosphere is unstable.

As riot police used plastic bullets to disperse the crowd at one of the retail malls looted overnight, protesters retaliated with real bullets. Opportunistic thieves, according to police, had reaped the benefits of the confusion.

In the province of Gauteng, the rioting has extended to Johannesburg. Demonstrators wielding clubs, sports equipment, and planks of wood marched into Johannesburg’s city center on Sunday and Monday.

Due to safety reasons, some COVID immunization locations were forced to shut down. The Army said soldiers would be sent to help police and put an end to the instability that has engulfed both regions in recent days.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for calm, stating that the bloodshed is unjustified.

Throughout his nine years in charge, Zuma was found guilty of refusing an order to testify before a corruption investigation. He’s only spoken once during the investigation about what’s come to be called state capture.

He pled not guilty last month in a corruption case concerning a $5 billion (Β£3 billion) arms sale from of the 1990s. His supporters now seem to think he is the target of a politically motivated witch hunt carried out by Ramaphosa’s supporters.

The Military Deployment

Pre-deployment procedures began in response to a request for help from a governmental intelligence agency, according to an army statement. However, a Reuters photographer in Pietermaritzburg spotted armed troops already on the streets.

According to his administration, President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver a speech about brutality later on Monday.

Any clash with troops risks fueling Zuma and his allies’ accusations that they are the targets of a politically driven assault by Ramaphosa, the current president.