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South Africa: two dead in anti-cost-of-living protest

South Africa: two dead in anti-cost-of-living protest
People gather outside the customer care centre in Tembisa, 1 August 2022   -  
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South Africa

Two protesters were shot dead in South Africa on Monday during a demonstration against rising utility prices that was fired upon by police.

The protest took place in the township of Tembisa, in the east of the South African economic capital Johannesburg, where angry residents, particularly over electricity prices, blocked roads with burning tyres and set fire to a public building.

There were "two fatal injuries" in the "protest action which took place in the early hours of the morning", said city police spokeswoman Kelebogile Thepa. "It is alleged that they were shot".

Independent Police Investigation Service (Ipid) spokeswoman Lizzy Suping had earlier told AFP that an investigation was underway after recording "a victim of a gunshot fired by a member of the police".

A wave of protests is swelling in South Africa, the most developed economy on the African continent, but plagued by unemployment and crime.

Last month, former South African president Thabo Mbeki blamed his successor Cyril Ramaphosa for failing to keep his promise to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment, which affects 34.5% of the population and peaks at nearly 64% among the youngest.

The summer of 2021 saw a wave of riots and large-scale looting unprecedented in 30 years, which left 350 dead. The ten days of violence, which affected various parts of South Africa, followed the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, who was embroiled in multiple corruption cases.

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