Authorities have put the number of combined deaths due to violent protests in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal at 45.

Included in this number is 10 people who died in a stampede in Soweto bringing the total provincial death toll caused by riots to 19. This is according to Gauteng premier David Makhura who is in Meadowlands, south of Johannesburg. The bodies were discovered when police investigated the scene late on Tuesday morning.

“We have got to be on the ground, we have got to activate our structures,” Makhura said during a media briefing.

Earlier, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala announced that the death toll in that province had risen to 26. Many of the deaths in that province were due to in stampedes as scores of people looted food, electrical appliances, liquor and clothing from retail centres, Zikalala said  earlier today. 

“Yesterday’s events brought a lot of sadness. The number of people who have died in KwaZulu-Natal alone stands at 26. Many of them died from being trampled on during a stampede while people were looting items,” said Zikalala.

These figures are in contrast to those being reported by the SA Police Service, which last night and again this morning reported a much lower death toll. 

maekot@businesslive.co.za

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