Death toll from unrest in South Africa surges to 212

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 13: South African National Defense Force (SANDF) members patrol at streets and looted places as death toll in South Africa's violent protests against the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma has risen to 45, in Soweto region in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 13, 2021. (Photo by Shiraaz Mohamed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

At least 212 people have been killed in violence in South Africa, the government said on Friday, representing a spike in the death toll from the previous figure of 117 which was announced the previous day.

FILE PHOTO: South African National Defense Force (SANDF) members patrol at streets and looted places in Soweto region in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Shiraaz Mohamed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

According to government minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, majority of the new deaths had occurred in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, the hotbed of the unrest.

However, Ntshavheni, who spoke during a news conference, said, the situation was “gradually and firmly returning to normality.”

Ntshavheni added that 1,488 further incidents had been reported overnight in KwaZulu-Natal, but did not elaborate any further.

The province also reported an additional 89 deaths over the past 24 hours, while more than 2,550 people had been arrested, Ntshavheni said.

There were no new incidents reported in Gauteng province which includes the financial capital Johannesburg, where 56 cases of violence or looting have been recorded since the start of the unrest a week ago.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to address the nation on Friday night. The head of state earlier said that the unrest had been “planned” and the government would hunt down those responsible.

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