Residents arm themselves against S. African looters

In a Durban neighborhood, residents are taking matters into their own hands.

Amid widespread violence in South Africa they've armed themselves with guns and baseball bats to block access to their streets and to chase looters out of local supermarkets.

Protests following the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma have been centered on his home province KwaZulu-Natal and have evolved into a general outpouring of anger.

Shopping malls have burned, dozens of people killed, and soldiers sent onto the streets.

The government has said criminals are taking advantage of anger among Zuma's supporters to steal and cause damage.

But the unrest is also fueled by exasperation at difficult living conditions that have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday (July 13) the United Nations in South Africa warned that the violence will only exacerbate the hardships caused by poverty, unemployment, and inequality.

Concerns are growing over the impact of the unrest on food and fuel supply.

At a gas station in Durban, Joe Dlamini is queuing for petrol.

"The people starting fire, the shops, everything, that's why the queue for petrol is like this."

The violence is also hitting the economy.

The rand, one of the best performing emerging market currencies during the pandemic, hit a three-month low on Tuesday and continued to hover there on Wednesday (July 14).

Local and hard currency bonds have suffered and shares in banks and real estate firms also tanked.

On Wednesday an industry official said South Africa's largest refinery, located in Durban, had been temporarily shutdown.

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