Ana C. lives in Ballito, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and fearfully recounts the despair that currently lives there, along with many other parts of the country, in this turbulent period of violence and looting since her arrest. of former president Jacob Zuma. “Don’t put my nickname”, he asks.
“There’s no gas around here, the supermarkets are empty and we can’t leave the house,” says Ana to Negócios. “They have already tried to enter some houses and now we have our men taking turns all day and night guarding the entrance to the building. This is very ugly”, he adds, asking: “Pray for us and for South Africa” .
In the midst of chaos, there is also a solidary side to stand out, as is the case of a group of men who traveled from Johannesburg to Durban with trucks loaded with bread to distribute. “The unity of the people who have gathered around here, to protect themselves and give each other food when this is lacking, has been incredible”, says Ana, who is the daughter of Portuguese emigrants.
Ana’s sisters and parents live near Johannesburg, in the province of Gauteng, and they say that things there are not as hot there as they are in Ballito. Still, one cannot speak of peace, as it is one of the provinces where the most disturbances are registered.
The adviser of the Madeiran diaspora in South Africa, José Nascimento, told Lusa that “about a hundred businesses of six major Portuguese businessmen, including sons of Madeirans, in the food and beverage sector, were looted and vandalized in South Africa “. “The number of affected businesses is around a hundred. For example, only businessman Vicente Ferreira lost 28 businesses, most of them in KwaZulu-Natal,” he stressed.
The fatal victims of the wave of violence that has devastated South Africa for the seventh consecutive day have already reached at least 117, with more than 2,200 arrests having been carried out, according to a new report released this Thursday by the Presidency of the South African Republic and quoted above. by Lusa.
“It is estimated that around 450,000 Portuguese and Portuguese descendants live in South Africa, of which at least 200,000 in Johannesburg and Gauteng, and 20,000 in KwaZulu-Natal, but according to the Portuguese adviser there are no nationals among the victims”, says the agency.
Remember that Zuma turned himself in to the security forces last Wednesday night, July 7th, to serve a 15-month sentence [ao fim de quatro meses poderá pedir liberdade condicional] out of disrespect, since he refused to testify before the commission that is investigating the accusations against him: corruption in the purchase of weapons in 1999 and favoring businessmen during his presidency (2009-2018).
Protests by its supporters began on Friday, July 9 – with the incidents originating in KwaZulu-Natal, the province where the former president was born.
The riots have continued since then and the country’s current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced yesterday that he is considering sending 25,000 soldiers to the streets in an attempt to stop this spiral of violence. The initial number of the military detachment was 2,500 men, then increased to 5,000 but it remains insufficient to contain the riots.