Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Violent protests of a lack of basic services in South Africa

Riots are breaking out in South Africa as protesters a getting angry over a lack of basic services in the country. People without water or decent housing have taken to the streets to protest.

From the BBC, we read more about the latest violent protests and the conditions behind them.

Police have fired rubber bullets at demonstrators in Johannesburg, the Western Cape and the north-eastern region of Mpumalanga.

More than 100 people have been arrested during the past week.

In Mpumalanga, there were reports of foreign-owned businesses being looted as foreigners sought police protection.

President Jacob Zuma promised to improve service delivery when he came to power in May, and said fighting poverty was his priority.

South Africa announced in June that it was facing its worst recession in 17 years.

The recession and job losses have added fuel to long-standing grievances over the government's failure to deliver basic services, and the protests are the most direct challenge to President Zuma since he came to power, our correspondent adds.

Fifteen years after the African National Congress won its first election, over a million South Africans still live in shacks, many without access to electricity or running water.

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