Unrest in KZN, Gauteng dominates South Africa’s social media

twitter unrest gauteng kzn

South Africans have taken to social media to document and watch as unrest and looting unfolded in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal following protests over former President Jacob Zuma’s arrest.

On 12 July, local users flooded Twitter with posts containing the hashtags #ShutdownSA, #ShutdownGauteng, and #ShutdownKZN.

By Monday afternoon, out of the top South African trends, the majority related to the protests and unrest — including “Jabulani Mall”, “SANDF” and expectations around a “State of Emergency”.

Last month, Zuma was convicted of contempt of court by the Constitutional Court. He was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment.

Following his arrest on 7 July, some of the former president’s supporters took to the streets in protest. Since then, the unrest has escalated with multiple news outlets reporting looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Much of the reported looting has taken place at shopping malls.

While the unrest has emerged in the wake of protests supporting Zuma, some have accused the looters of being opportunists rather than protestors.

According to eNCA, ANC Gauteng spokesperson Sasabona Manganye called the unrest “just a looting spree”.

“Even if you go and interact with those individuals in those scenes, some of them are talking about things that have nothing to do with president Zuma,” Manganye said according to eNCA.

“It’s just a looting spree and that is why we are calling the law enforcement agencies to ensure that these people are arrested because what they are doing is criminal.”

In the wake of the looting, the South African government announced it had deployed SANDF forces to the affected regions.

Not long after, the presidency announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa would address the nation on Monday night.

Several social media users also tried to exacerbate the situation by posting fake news and misinformation about the looting.

How to watch out for fake news during the unrest

When checking out breaking news, verify where the information is coming from.

Verify the date and setting of pictures and videos you see.

Follow reputable news outlets and journalists for up-to-date coverage and to check whether certain reports are real.

Featured image: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash

Read more: Delivery services, SASSA cash payments suspended due to unrest




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