The devastating cost of the South African riots

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The riots that hit South Africa in July last year left lasting traces, including consequences, damage that will cost the country dearly, as the economy is already struggling to recover from the pandemic.

as reported from Johannesburg, Claire Bargelès

This crisis, the most important in the country since the end of apartheid, was triggered after the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma for contempt for justice, and grew rapidly, driven by poverty and inequality. More than 350 people were killed.

The riots also caused major damage with significant economic consequences, as shopping centers and warehouses were ransacked in the regions around Durban and Johannesburg.

According to Sasria, the public insurance company that handles the riot compensation, the damage could amount to 1.5 billion euros, after the destruction and plunder of 200 shopping centers and 3,000 stores. The state-owned company estimates that these are the most expensive riots in the world in the last ten years, and must now turn to the state for civil protection after these significant expenses.

The consequences for the economy could be even greater, as the country stood still during this violence of the week, with burnt trucks and shoulder blocking connecting the southern region with the port of Durban. The Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, for his part estimates that the riots may cost a growth point for the year 2021.

These difficulties come on top of a economy who are already struggling to recover from the health crisis. With 1.2% growth in the second quarter, various sectors have taken on color, but the country has not regained its level before Covid. And unemployment has reached a new record, with more than 34% of the population unemployed, or more than one in three working.

► Listen again:South Africa: the impact of the health crisis on unemployment [3/3]

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