In South Africa, the rule of law for everyone is under attack. Soldiers are now patrolling the streets in many cities after a day that saw the worst violence in the country in years. Looters set fire to shopping centers and warehouses. Crowds clashed with outnumbered police. More than 40 people have died.
Many say the violence is the result of high unemployment made worse by the country’s anemic vaccination drive. There is also the feeling that, 27 years after apartheid, many promises made by corrupt politicians have not been kept. South Africa’s political leaders certainly shoulder a lot of the blame, including former president Jacob Zuma.
But he doesn’t see it that way. Zuma is behind bars tonight. Two weeks ago the country’s highest court sentenced him to 15 months in prison for contempt of court after he refused to appear before a panel investigating corruption allegations against him.
Zuma says this is all a political witch hunt, equating the decisions of the high court with the system of justice under apartheid. Today his foundation issued a threat: If Zuma is not released from prison, there will be no peace in South Africa. Is this what it looks and sounds like: Is former South African president Jacob Zuma holding his own country hostage.
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