The imprisonment of South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma, 79-year-old , to serve a 15-month sentence for contempt of court was followed by violent riots in the streets. Zuma has been imprisoned for defying a court order to testify before a state-backed inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his term as president from 2009 to 2018. The rioting by Zuma’s supporters started in his home region of KwaZulu-Natal province last week and over the weekend it spread to Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg. Police now say criminals are taking advantage of the chaos. Shops and businesses have been looted and vandalized, Traffic has been disrupted. Some 300 people had barricaded a major highway in Johannesburg. Some 23 trucks were also set alight at Mooi River around 150 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Durban.
Six people are dead and 219 have been arrested amid escalating violence. At least three police officers were injured when trying to arrest looters and one was hospitalized, according to a statement. Army soldiers will be deployed to help police quell the violence, the South African National Defense Force said. Police also have warned that anyone using social media to encourage the rioting may be arrested and prosecuted. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa appealed for calm on Sunday evening. Zuma denies corruption. The case is due back in the Constitutional Court on Monday, with Zuma’s team hoping to get his sentence rescinded or reduced.