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More than 70 people have died and major infrastructure has been damaged after days of rioting and looting in parts of South Africa.

The widespread disorder has affected thousands of businesses as people have been filling up their cars and trucks with stolen food and other goods in two of the country’s nine provinces – KwaZulu-Natal, where Durban is located, and Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg.

Here we take a look at the events that have led to South Africa dealing with some of its worst unrest since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

The rioting broke out after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed
The rioting broke out after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed

The former president is sent to jail

The unrest broke out after ex-president Jacob Zuma handed himself over to start a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court last week.

The 79-year-old’s supporters believe the former leader is the victim of a political witch-hunt and have burned tyres and blocked roads in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Support for Zuma stems partly from his image as a man of the people during his nine years in power until 2018.

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‘Out of control’ looting at South African warehouses

Some see his jailing as an attack on the nation’s largest ethnic group, the Zulu.

Many wealthy and middle-class South Africans were overjoyed when Zuma was ousted after multiple sleaze and graft allegations, but he still retains loyal followings in KwaZulu-Natal and some poor, rural areas.

His support among the population mirrors a division within the governing African National Congress (ANC), where a pro-Zuma faction opposes his successor President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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Fires and looting of Durban warehouses

Widespread poverty and inequality

The hardship that persists 27 years after the end of apartheid in 1994 is a major reason why hundreds of shops and dozens of malls have been stripped bare.

Statistics agency data show roughly half of the country’s 35 million adults live below the poverty line and that young people are disproportionately affected by unemployment.

South Africa has one of the highest levels of inequality in the world according to the commonly-used Gini index, with a “dual economy” catering to a small, mostly white elite, and large, mainly black majority.

Moves by the ANC, which has governed since the start of democratic rule, to redistribute land and wealth have progressed slowly.


The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated poverty, with a recent survey showing a sharp increase in hunger.

Official unemployment hit a record high above 32% in the first three months of 2021.

Although the government increased social grants to cushion the pandemic, it cannot afford to match the costly furlough schemes of wealthier nations.

Businesses have had their properties ransacked across the nation
Businesses have had their properties ransacked in parts of the nation

Criminal elements

South African police have said some criminals have been taking advantage of anger over Zuma’s imprisonment by stealing and damaging property.

So far more than 1,200 people have been arrested as the chaos in the country has left at least 72 people dead.

Many of the deaths were caused by chaotic stampedes as thousands of people have stolen food, electric appliances, alcohol and clothing from stores, police said.

People have been looting stores across the poverty-stricken country
People have been looting stores in the poverty-stricken country

Inflammatory messages

People linked with Zuma, including his own daughter Duduzile, are fanning the violence with inflammatory comments and social media posts, security officials say.

Mzwanele Manyi, a spokesman for Zuma’s charitable foundation, attributed some early acts of violence to “righteous anger”.

Manyi told the Reuters news agency that the violence could have been avoided and that the manner in which Zuma was jailed reminded people of the apartheid days.

Meanwhile, an account bearing Duduzile’s name has repeatedly posted images and videos of protests and violence on Twitter with the rallying cry “Amandla!” (Power!) used during the liberation struggle.

The ANC has said it is concerned by the tweets and that party member Duduzile will have to explain herself.

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FIFA considering lifting blanket ban on Russia competing in international football




FIFA considering lifting blanket ban on Russia competing in international football

FIFA is looking at ending Russia’s blanket ban from international football, Sky News understands.

The decision could be taken during a FIFA Council meeting later today to allow Russian teams to play in the Under-17s World Cups if they qualify, sources say.

The ban has been in place since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine was launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2022 in a move FIFA said was in “full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine”.

But FIFA is looking to ease the punishment based on how European football’s governing body last week relaxed its position on Russia.

UEFA decided to end its complete ban on Russian international teams competing to allow them to participate in the Under-17s Euros qualifying in the coming weeks – but without their national kit, flag or anthem.

European teams secure qualification for the Under-17s World Cups based on their performances at their continental UEFA events.

So FIFA is viewing the Under-17s European Championships as de facto qualifiers for the global level which provides a logic for them to readmit Russia.

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A FIFA decision would come too late for the men’s Under-17s World Cup in November but Russia could qualify for the women’s event next year.

But the decision to lift the complete ban on Russian teams has created divisions in Europe – with England threatening to boycott matches against them and Ukraine calling for the continent to back their opposition.

UEFA though is privately pointing to Ukraine’s government now allowing their athletes to compete against Russians competing as neutrals.

Russia have still been allowed to play international friendlies since February 2022 but have been barred from tournaments and qualifying competitions, which stopped them from trying to reach the 2022 men’s World Cup and 2023 women’s event.

FIFA’s media department did not respond to requests for comment over the last week on Russia.

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Warming world nearing ‘point of no return’, says Pope Francis ahead of COP28 climate change conference




Warming world nearing 'point of no return', says Pope Francis ahead of COP28 climate change conference

Pope Francis has appealed to world leaders to address climate change before it’s too late, warning the planet is nearing a “point of no return”.

In a new document – Praise God – released ahead of the COP28 climate change conference next month, the pope highlighted the transition to renewable energy from fossil fuels was not progressing fast enough.

It combines science, diplomacy, and theology to advocate a change to clean energy.

The pontiff stressed on the “irreversible” damage under way to the planet and its people, adding that the world’s poor and most vulnerable were paying the highest price.

“We are now unable to halt the enormous damage we have caused. We barely have time to prevent even more tragic damage,” Pope Francis said.

The 86-year-old advocated for changes to the “irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model” which he claimed would have a long-term impact on the globe’s condition.

The text is an update to his landmark 2015 papal letter “Praise Be” – written before the start of the Paris climate conference as a prod to world leaders to act – and focusses on caring for the natural environment, people and underlining the relationship between God, humans, and Earth.

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The pontiff felt the update was necessary because responses to the emergency had “not been adequate” citing a “collapsing” world reaching “breaking point”.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, leaders vowed to limit the rise of global temperatures to below 2C above pre-industrial times while pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5C.

The pope lamented the target, claiming it would reach 3C soon, while citing numerous natural disasters and extreme weather globally.

“Even if we do not reach this point of no return, it is certain that the consequences would be disastrous and precipitous measures would have to be taken, at enormous cost and with grave and intolerable economic and social effects,” he said.

And he cited data showing that increased emissions and the corresponding rise in global temperatures have accelerated since the Industrial Revolution, and particularly in the last 50 years.

A series of pronounced heatwaves, floods and storms have enveloped the globe over the past year with thousands of deaths worldwide.

People search for flood victims in Derna, Libya. Pic: AP
One of the many floods to inundate part of a country this year. This is in Libya. Pic: AP

And supercomputer climate models have warned extreme global warming will likely wipe all mammals – including humans – off the face of the Earth in 250 million years, as temperatures could spiral to 70C (158F) leaving the planet barren.

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Abu Dhabi: ‘Dozens of cats’ found abandoned in desert as authorities launch investigation




Abu Dhabi: 'Dozens of cats' found abandoned in desert as authorities launch investigation

Authorities in Abu Dhabi are investigating reports of cats being abandoned in the desert, with dozens said to have died.

Rescue groups and volunteers have shared images of pets dumped in remote parts of the desert, where temperatures can reach nearly 40C.

Described by the International Organisation for Animal Protection (OIPA) as “unimaginable and unacceptable suffering”, the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) is now investigating.

“DMT immediately began investigations after receiving the report and will take all relevant administrative and legal measures available,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday.

The department added “all necessary measures” are being taken to identify any individuals and just how the incidents have come about, which “contradicts civilised morals and values”.

Dozens of cats have been reported dumped. Pic: OIPA

“DMT has also underscored that it values the sentiments of the public and communities and recognises the contributions of volunteers in responding to this incident.”

The public is encouraged to keep sharing details with the department.

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Images shared on social media appear to show cats lying still in the sand, with dozens found, according to OIPA.

The charity says its rescuers have found about 60 dead pets in “different stages of decomposition”, with some on the sand and others just below the surface.

The group recently uncovered a “horrific scene” of more than 100 cats and some dogs “cruelly dumped in the desert”, they added.

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“Animals have died enduring unimaginable and unacceptable suffering,” the charity said.

“Another 87 cats and a dog were luckily found alive but in critical conditions. All very weak and dehydrated, they have been transferred to vet clinics for health care.”

To “worsen the cruelty”, OIPA claims almost all the cats they found had been microchipped and neutered – some as recently as two weeks ago, as stitches were still visible.

It’s not clear who dumped the cats.

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