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- South African authorities arrested six people who allegedly instigated a week of rioting that claimed at least 215 lives and have charged them with inciting public violence. One of the six was released on bail, while the other five are in custody pending their bail hearings, acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told reporters in Pretoria. The minister declined to name them, saying she didn’t want to jeopardise investigations. The unrest was triggered by former President Jacob Zuma’s arrest on contempt of court charges. Hundreds of shops were looted and telecommunications towers and other infrastructure destroyed in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces before thousands of soldiers were deployed to help the police restore calm. While roads, rail links and ports have reopened, several areas are confronting shortages of food, medicines and fuel. President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of his administration have repeatedly said the attacks were planned and orchestrated, and that those responsible were party to sedition and economic sabotage. It’s unclear what the alleged instigators aimed to achieve.
- Jailed former president Jacob Zuma has won a short-term legal victory, which scores him three weeks until his next appearance in his arms deal criminal trial. On Tuesday, Judge Piet Koen ruled that Zuma’s trial was adjourned to August 10 to adjudicate on the issues raised in the special plea. Zuma is the first accused in the criminal case, in which he has been charged on various counts including corruption, fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and racketeering. Koen has temporarily excused the representative of Zuma’s co-accused — French arms company Thales — as the court addresses Zuma’s shoehorn request to have the state prosecutor recused on allegations of bias, and then seek acquittal altogether.
- Unrest has dealt a severe blow to investor confidence, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned as it engages with several companies seeking to divest from the province and possibly the country. Mpume Langa, first vice-president of the chamber. said major foreign companies such as Toyota, Defy, LG and Massmart are among those that have invested in the province. She said businesses in the province felt abandoned last week during the riots as the government’s response proved to be too little, too late for many business owners.
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