South Africa & The Zuma Factor | Start Here

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What’s behind the recent looting and rioting in South Africa? And where does former president Jacob Zuma fit in? #AJStartHere with @SandraGathmann looks at the backstory.

#southafricariots #SouthAfricaUnrest #jacobzuma #southafricariots

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South Africa is dealing with a lot of

problems — the legacy of apartheid,

huge economic inequality, crushing


and the most recorded cases of COVID-19

in Africa. But none of that —

except for the pandemic — is new. So why

did things kick off back in early July?

Well, you can’t answer that question

without talking about the former


Jacob Zuma. He was in office from 2009 to


a time marked by corruption and cronyism

at the highest levels of government.

Zuma was forced to resign in 2018

because of all the allegations against


He’s been fighting them ever since and

denies he did anything wrong,

which brings us to the Zondo commission.

It’s a public inquiry into what’s called

state capture during Zuma’s presidency,

meaning corruption involving the

government and the private sector.

Hundreds of

witnesses have provided lots of details

about what allegedly went on.

President Ramaphosa says the cost of

corruption during Zuma’s time in office

was more than $30 billion.

So that’s some of the backstory. Here’s

how things escalated.

In February this year Zuma refused to

appear before the Zondo commission —

even though he testified before. And then

in June the Constitutional Court

sentenced Zuma to 15 months in prison

for contempt of court.

He was given a deadline to turn himself

in and at the very last minute

he showed up at a police station.

While all that

was going on

hundreds of Zuma supporters, some

carrying weapons,

rallied in KwaZulu-Natal, his home


And for a while there things did get out

of hand.

Over the next week there were more than

300 reported incidents,

including looting and arson across the

provinces of

Natal and Gauteng, where the cities of

Johannesburg, Pretoria

and Durban are. In some places police

failed to control the looting.

People took security into their own

hands, from taxi drivers

to armed vigilantes. President Ramaphosa

was criticised for being too

slow to act. Eventually, after almost a


he sent in 25,000 soldiers — the biggest

military deployment

since the end of apartheid. And that

helped to calm things down.

And now South Africans have been left to

clean up the mess.

Well, some of it appeared to be plain


But a lot of people in South


are struggling to survive.

The World Bank says it’s the most

unequal country

in the world. Unemployment among young

people stands

at 75% and the pandemic has made

everything worse.

That context, though, doesn’t


explain everything that’s happened and

President Ramaphosa suggested there was

actually something else going on.

So that takes it to a

whole other level.

The implication is that Zuma, or people

close to him, had something to do with

the violence.

But right now that hasn’t been proven

and as of July 19

only one suspected ringleader had been

arrested. Now remember

Ramaphosa and Zuma are from the same

political party —

the ANC — which has run South Africa for


30 years, since the end of apartheid. But

the two men now represent

rival factions within the same party.

That’s one theory and apart from

anything else it shows just how

complicated this whole situation is.

What happened has revealed a lot about

South Africa’s problems

and how much work it will take to solve

them. But it’s

also a moment for reflection.

For more on the situation in South

Africa head over to

You can also find more Start Here

episodes on Instagram, Twitter or


Also make sure to subscribe to this

YouTube channel so you don’t miss our

next episode.

この記事を書いている人 - WRITER -


  1. Avatar Justin Weston says:

    I’m starting to see a pattern here.

  2. Avatar jacivn says:

    Its just the first time it has engulfed the more affluent areas

  3. Avatar Ralie Swart says:

    Ramaphosa was vice president when zuma stolen our country dry. Why didnt he stoped it?

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  5. Avatar Rubangakene moses darule says:

    40 years is something special in the black history. White supremacism ends here.

  6. Avatar Justin Hatch says:

    They were WAY better off when Boers were running things. Call it Apartheid or whatever you want but there was jobs, justice, order, economy and constitution.

  7. Avatar Justin Hatch says:

    Corrupt Black Mob Rule & Politics replaced a stable Boer Republic.

  8. Avatar S.P Motion Picture reviews says:

    This is Bullshit reporting it doesnt explain why Zuma refused to go to the commission, in 1994 a similar ocommission was created to pardon Apartheid Murders, yet today we see a similar commission being used to settle political scores, now I understand your type of bias reporting.

  9. Avatar Tic Tac Toe says:

    Is there any George Soros donation in south africa?

  10. Avatar Mum Blic says:

    After all these years still only one party? wow!

  11. Avatar brain food tv says:

    Thanks for pronouncing “Ramaphosa” correctly, first news media outlet I watched that didn’t say “Ramafosa”

  12. Avatar Moyahabo Thoka says:


    I have so much respect for Justice Zondo his relentless pursuit for the truth has been a much needed intervention. Elected officials must account for their corrupt activities.

  13. Avatar Alpha Smile says:

    Beniningn, beginin, benninging,…🤦🤦 benigiinin, ….

  14. Avatar Adrian Ross Welsh says:

    I’m south African and this government is a joke the police are useless, they don’t fight crime they are criminals.

  15. Avatar Jack Cameron says:

    People in authority need to be held accountable

  16. Avatar Just Another Person in Youtube says:

    THIEVES it’s all about evil thieves ..
    That thinks they are free ..
    But they are not..


  17. Avatar R K says:

    Poor people don’t loot. Go and look at other countries. This was well orchestrated by the Zuma faction. Don’t forget Zuma family wants to come back in power. They want to cause mayhem for the ramaphosa government.

  18. Avatar Kerela’s finest says:

    Why would BLM supporters fly to South Africa and do this??

  19. Avatar Ivile Harmans says:

    Boooooo this is not true in totality, why do we have whites speaking for us anyway? White people in their entirty love Ramaphosa not only because he speaks great English, but his a great puppet for them.

    • Avatar Thabiso Mabena says:

      What are you saying 😂? And why say it in English

  20. Avatar Net Use says:

    BIG population Effect reality,
    After Rob public satisfya?
    Every help and Every job not possible to large populatsion?
    Religion not possible to solve problem,
    Technical support for control on population required

  21. Avatar Anthony Anthony says:

    One day we Black People are going to find ourselves living in a country without Schools , Clinics , Hospitals and other critical infrastructure. Unlike our White counterparts, we don’t have the resources to move to Europe , Australia , India and America should South Africa hit the rock bottom due to mayhem and violence. So when this day comes , the day when our loved ones die in our homes because there are no clinics, the day when our children stay at home on cold days and boycott school on rainy days because their classrooms are filled with cracked walls and broken Windows, we will realise that burning down a country in protest hurts us more than it advances our struggle.
    The right to protest and freedom of expression are enshrined in our constitution but mayhem and destruction of property is criminality .

  22. Avatar Myron Gunnar says:

    This was done in America also. When the democrats sent in BLM and Antifa to riot and destroy main stream America. Death to these communists/wannabe slavers and no mercy to slavers.

  23. Avatar 1 says:


  24. Avatar Mukhalu Ogalo says:

    Struggling to survive and first thing you think of is a 65 in tv. ??? How Africans can be…

  25. Avatar Rijn Van Essen says:

    1:18 they should mention corruption too!

  26. Avatar Googoog Fan says:

    Rubbish government

  27. Avatar Noluthando Sithole says:

    This is a beautiful video but we also need to add additional layer. SA was never disarm post 1994. KZN has always been a violence province from your political and taxi killing etc. No post war strategy were put in place in 1994 ?

  28. Avatar JAIMI DARC says:

    From Haiti to SA, we feel your pain!!

  29. Avatar Fire Man says:

    No you should start earlier. To Mandela’s time. When black people all had jobs, houses, food, electricity, water, schools and hospitals. We had segregation, but so did America and UK and every other country on the planet.
    Why was South Africa the only country crucified for it? Simple just look at who owns the largest mines in South Africa, Lonmin and Anglo American.
    See it’s Simple Nelson Mandela was greedy, he didn’t just want what most people had he wanted more. So he started the terrorist organisation ANC and fled across the border where he met up with Communist organisations supplied by Russia and Cuba. And from these countries he also traveled to the UK (which at this point under Thatcher identified Mandela and the ANC as a terrorist). But then the deal was struck. Full support for the ANC in exchange for the mining rights in South Africa.
    And so it started. Mandela had to turn the people who supported the white government against them. He did this by kidnapping, torture and murder in the most horrific ways in the black communities, with his death squad disguised as the Nelson Mandela Football Club. He also started full scale terrorism. By blowing up family restaurants, post offices and banks when they were busy and full of innocent women and children. He also blew up infrastructure like railways and power lines. And that’s how the border war started with South Africans, white, black, indian all fighting against the ANC. BUT remember ANC had now the support of the BBC, SKY and CNN, before the internet existed, and people trusted the media.
    So Mandela orchestrated mass, where he instructed the people to turn it violent and force the police and military to defend themselves. And what the world saw was us shooting at “innocent people”.
    We eventually captured Mandela while in possession of rocket launchers, grenades, explosives and mines. And he was sent to jail for acts of terrorism for life. But from jail he continued to instruct the ANC to continue terrorism until the media has done its job. And sure enough in 94 Mandela a active terrorist was freed and became president.
    Unfortunately he remained a terrorist and remember greedy. The ANC from that point used state funds only to enrich themselves. BEE and affirmative action was introduced, which was nothing else but racism to ensure all the top jobs would only go to black people, whether they were qualified or not. Even if it meant kicking out the person who had successfully done the job for years.
    And so the great economic divide began, and the collapse of the economy. And what added to the problem was Mandela opened up the border to any African as long as they supported the ANC. Its a simple plan to override democracy. Outnumber the opposition. Even if it destroys democracy and the country. And quickly within 30 years, with people in charge not able to do their jobs. The community multiplying. And the job creators fleeing to counties where they can start their businesses in peace without the ANC dipping their paws in to it. We reached this point. No functioning government, infrastructure, 60% unemployment. With the media and the ANC still blaming the “apartheid” government even though these people are long gone and dead for over 30years now.

  30. Avatar Gideon Langenhoven says:

    Some inaccuracies, Durban is in KZN, 75000 Army had been deployed last year and only 25000 this.

  31. Avatar Q Ball says:

    As a South African , to minutes in and you are so good at what you do, I have seen so many false reports and they call it the truth, you are detailed, thank you.

  32. Avatar Philip JH says:

    i hope all of those who looted, committed arson die of covid. no sympathy for them.

  33. Avatar Palider says:

    Came for information on South Africa and stayed for information on South Africa but also for the beautiful lady.

  34. Avatar Shahin Furmie says:

    Zuma is a thief. An uneducated criminal who is as corrupt to his core. He plundered this country with his Gupta cronies and I hope he rots in jail forever

  35. Avatar John Fivaz says:

    Great reporting thank you.

  36. Avatar scotishjohn says:

    Corruption is as African as currly hair

  37. Avatar Pat Rick says:

    Serpentza knows what’s going on.

  38. Avatar Spykerhond says:

    The Al-Jazeera piece filled with the most conjecture in the news agency’s history. How can you not deal with the relentless price gauging of food in the country there ? ANC/DA threats of low wage enslavement combined with these extortionate food price subjection sits souly behind the anger that made everybody take flat screen tv’s along with food and fridges. Imagine , risking prison for food !! Get South African on your concerns, the food chain remains captured by former apartheid and ANC beneficiaries !

  39. Avatar Spykerhond says:

    Investigate the Glencores of this world !

  40. Avatar Ndhavuko Gift says:

    It’s so funny that you didn’t even mentioned where the R500 billion ended to. If it wasn’t for high rate of youth unemployment , back and forth of this funny lockdown many would’ve not been in the streets looting. And worse ramaphosa sealed his documents from the country he claims he’s ruling. White minority is taking over our country, eskom, SAA, denel are now about to be privatized under our watch

  41. Avatar Emmanuel Hitilasha says:

    The core of all of this is economy enequality of which apartheid illgoten kept and apartheid was capitalized

  42. Avatar Joe Yamukongo says:

    You people are blaming Zuma alone, but White capitalist system for making more at the expenses of the masses which is widening the inequality in the country

  43. Avatar james murphy says:

    Self destructive behavior

  44. Avatar Romeo Sasele says:

    That WION reporter can learn something from this reporter instead of spreading fake news. How did Indians hijack the whole narrative and make it seem as if it was about them being targeted. They have no clue what South Africa is.

  45. Avatar Lady Bug says:

    Zuma betrayed his Country and her people in every way imaginable. The increase in poverty and unemployment ( to name but a very few) is largely due to this man and those who supported and backed him for years for their own personal and financial gain. This well planned action by those Zuma supporters who worked with him during his presidency, and who were responsible for inciting this onslaught on our Country, and potentially her Democracy, is tantamount to treason. And as for those same people, as well as the faction parties, who have spent years trying to fuel the “racial” divide in our Country – trying to pit race against race, goes against EVERYTHING that Nelson Mandela worked toward in trying to create a Rainbow Nation. We are at heart a peace loving and non racial society. The time is finally coming, albeit tragically at a huge cost, for those who thought they were above the law.

  46. Avatar Deepak Negi says:

    SA is a beautiful country, i hope they come out of this and the people behind this are made to pay for it.

  47. Avatar Shammy says:

    Looting is one thing. But the targeting of key infrastructure like ports, economic corridors, distribution warehouses, chemical plants, even threats to blow up highly flammable materials at an SA Breweries plant is not just normal looting and civil upheaval. I think there is some credence to some elements of this being planned.

  48. Avatar CuriousNerdKitteh says:

    3:59 I am dying 🤣🤣 as a South African, I have never heard someone pronounce “Gauteng” so beautifully and so wrong. 🤣🤣🤣. I am fully on board with this. She almost made it sound French, which is a massive accomplishment. I guess she didn’t want to spray the cameraman. Her beautiful voice and accent are certainly easy on the ears compared to the voiceless plosive and friccative-heavy SA accents I’m used to hearing SA news reported in. Though maybe our own news needs to upgrade their microphones to this level as well. 🤔

  49. Avatar CuriousNerdKitteh says:

    Thanks for this, a very well put-together high level of the situation going on here. As a South African this video makes explaining the situation to non South Africans a lot easier.

  50. Avatar glynis stevens says:

    Nice program

  51. Avatar Monja van Antwerp says:

    What is happening in sa? Anc has been in charge since 1994, 27 years later, our great madiba is turning in his grave & apartheid cant be blamed, projects for the poorest of the poor to build them desent living conditions & after a few years they still have open air toilets that does not work, billions of rand later & still no water no power, no houses, the worst feeling in the world is 2 go 2 bed hungry & cold & if you have never been there in life you can’t understand that feeling. Government stealing from the poorest of the poor, how do you sleep @ night if you know you taking from people that has nothing ? Children born into poverty & eating from peace jobs what their parents go hungry  2 feed their children, government spent millions on party’s, driving the best cars & building themselves mansions, lucky for us but unfortunate for them God does not sleep. The instigators are not being handled even with evidence.

  52. Avatar Monja van Antwerp says:

    A leaked voice clip of bheki cele involved with drug smuggling & looting as well

  53. Avatar Past Analysis says:

    This is very saddening to see. No country should suffer this much social and economic inequality. It’s proven to lead to disaster.

  54. Avatar Nana Frapo says:


  55. Avatar Swami Loka says:

    We must not kill farmers. We did not protect them. Let us not debate but ask our conscience. God will punish us for destroying his grace and we will suffer from less food. There was and is no law in our country that protects innocent citizens. Take stats of killings and robberies after independence. If we don’t change the laws to protect innocent citizens and leave the culprits to get hurt for their wrongs South Africa will never change. The thief must put the safety of his life before property by not entering anyone’s house. that should be the law. not the other way round Hijackers must be warned that they are also risking their lives by giving drivers and vehicles owners permission to protect themselves and their vehicles. We should send a message that they are risking their lives. Thousands of vehicles were hijacked after independence The thieves must take responsibility for their lives The worst thing is to give a license to steal because of poverty which led it to become an industry. If people are hungry they should report to the welfare or a police station and it can come on media and the community will unite and help them so that it would not have cost our cvountry R30,billion in damages. or give permission to steal under police supervision so that no hurt or damages are caused. Our army and police cannot disperse a crowd. There is something more to it and come when everything is over. In 1985 I was caught in the riots and the soldiers dispersed the crowd in few minutes why can’t we now do the same. Misplaced compassion will lead to disaster as evidence reveals it all.

  56. Avatar Swami Loka says:

    Remove the cause and the effect will go.

  57. Avatar Zusiphe Msongelwa says:

    If you gonna give a background context give the whole context. You stated Zuma refused to go to the commission without stating why he refused. You didn’t mention that there is a Zondo recusal application before the courts which is yet to be heard, which happened even before Zondo went to the Constitutional Court to have it compel Zuma to appear before him.

    As to why Zuma refused you can access his affidavit in the application he made for Zondo to recuse himself.

    I think it’s important to report that to give a balanced view on things.

  58. Avatar nhlakanipho khumalo says:

    yall need to get your facts straight .

  59. Avatar nhlakanipho khumalo says:

    a lot of unfounded alligations. yall are not so different from the local media.

  60. Avatar nhlakanipho khumalo says:

    very poor analysis of the whole situation.

  61. Avatar matthew thomas says:

    Thank you. Apartheid was better than this. We all knew where we belonged, The country worked, the economy was good. This has become a lawless society, corruption, murder, rape and just sick

  62. Avatar Maverick 21 says:

    27 years of corruption and ineptitude has led South Africa to this point.

  63. Avatar Kwakhe Mthethwa says:

    Is not true reflection I wish you can interview me I will tell you the true story of what is happening, basically is rich and poor who are fighting economy is not shared equally because those who live healthy and affording everything will not loot and burned things down simple as that, to get richer you have to take from the poor. South Africans if you are citizen and you African is not easy to get premises to rent the shops renting prices is too high

  64. Avatar Mekonnen Borena says:

    “We will make South Africa ungovernable until the president steps down”. So democracy doesn’t work to the average South Africa unless their tribal corrupt despot called Zuma rules the country. As Martin L King said “Nothing in all the world more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” They believe burning factories and businesses will change their fortune for better. Make no mistake the average career politicians are scumbags to the society; they only value their bellies. Good luck fools where you will buy your next groceries.

  65. Avatar ETOP911 says:

    Enough said, we will make this country ungovernable! Corruption at Max capacity.

  66. Avatar ETOP911 says:

    We need a real report like this on the current state of America, the media here is so corrupt you’d think we were in China.

  67. Avatar Flowz Flowz says:

    To say that the Zondo commission was set up to look into both government and private sector corruption is not true…this commission is coming to a close and we haven’t seeing anyone from the private sector coming to account.

  68. Avatar Leigh Jade says:

    It’s so easy to blame Zuma and the same hands pointing to him have blood on their hands and shady corruption deals themselves.

  69. Avatar Indoda Engaziwa says:

    This message is brought to you by the friends of Cyril Ramaphosa.

  70. Avatar John says:

    5:49 wow!

  71. Avatar Bhekinkosi Mncube says:

    Thats ridiculous when did judges start to investigate i thought their job was weigh the nattes by seeing or hearing and give judgment

  72. Avatar judy holland says:

    this corrupted wealth should have been used to uplift the poor in housing, education, health and job creativity instead over over loading the gravy train…..look no further than 1994….

  73. Avatar Vusi Manyepe says:

    Great journalism. You summed it up well

  74. Avatar Njabulo Msane says:

    They are using Zuma as a scapegoat lol. Looting/ state capture in SA started in 1652

  75. Avatar Jennifer Barnard says:

    Why doesn’t Al Jazeera report on gross human rights abuses and atrocities committed against migrant workers in Qatar and other gulf states?

  76. Avatar Stardust Bilermam says:

    Problem is nothing has changed. Cyril himself was also involved in state capture

  77. Avatar Stardust Bilermam says:

    This is what happens when you go to people every 4 years to vote for u and you’ll give them jobs, but don’t deliver. White people are getting better standards of living and we are falling further down. Everything is a struggle for us. Even just to get to an interview with transport

  78. Avatar BuBuy Tibayan says:

    alywas watching star here love it

  79. Avatar Mlekeleli Michael says:

    Zuma gave home to the people of South Africa

  80. Avatar Bruce Downunda says:

    Its ‘Apartheid’s’ fault, but then again what’s the rest of Africa’s. Excuse, the White Bogeyman….. LoL
    This channel should be called…. Idiots Inc.

  81. Avatar thicky says:

    no different from what happened n america last year. or when riots took place when trump lost. the urnest under covid has been crazy globally

  82. Avatar Anton Swanepoel says:

    Another problem is massive tribalism. Zuma is from the Zulu tribe and Ramaphosa is from the Venda tribe. They are traditional enemies.

  83. Avatar Surifushion says:

    Of course these people are mad, I would be to. No one was sent to jail after apartheid ended and now they are sending a former president to jail for contempt of law. These people are mad. Ramaphose is an infiltrant a white man in a black persons body trying to put an end to the ANC. There is so much more to this story.

  84. Avatar C says:

    The only thing missing in this reporting is how there has been a single party rule over 30 years. Can you have a democracy when there is no viable opposition. Why wouldn’t corruption become rampant in a one party state?

  85. Avatar Tebogo Letsoko says:

    I live in Gauteng. The situation is bad, it’s like watching a horror movie. The ruling party doesn’t care about our country. Finding a job as graduate is by luck. There’s lack of opportunities. There’s lots of problems which can be resolved by credible and capable leadership.

  86. Avatar Frank Ragetti says:

    “ZUMA” is just a coupon and south africans love it.🤪

  87. Avatar Frank Ragetti says:

    Me: stop destroying your country. Just stop.😡
    My cousin(with a business mindset): how can i make a profit out of this?🤔

  88. Avatar Frank Ragetti says:

    If i don’t steal it, somebody else will.🤪

  89. Avatar Tinashe Pikasso says:

    Liberalism has brought destruction to SA

  90. Avatar Matthew Brooker says:

    The exchange rate of the Rand says it all.

  91. Avatar Erich Pizer says:

    S.African: Wish the report had more airtime to include even more content. spot on. We have 1 primary SA problem and it’s an incompetent, corrupt in trillions, pseudo communist 30 year long ANC 2/3rds majority fake democracy government above the rule of law. hope is little.

  92. Avatar Boniface Malebo says:

    This bald guy with gogels doesn’t have information let he tell us about 500 billion…

  93. Avatar Kinloch Van Der Spuy says:

    Sinopsis, Its Zumas Fault

  94. Avatar fleischwolf82 says:

    The ANC has governed SA for 30 years but during this time the economy crumbled, poverty , the wealth gap, social tensions and corruption has increased. Many of the ANC leaders thought it’s their payday after they took over after the apartheid. They took care of themselves but not of the ordinary people. By playing the race card, highlighting their role in the ending of apartheid and using the affiliation with the iconic Madiba they could unfortunately still convince majorities in the elections. I truly hope South Africans realize it, form new parties, get rid of the corrupt class, advocate for policies that work for all.

  95. Avatar Tauriq Abdullah says:

    I’m South African and I was expecting to watch propaganda. But I must say this was really well done. Excellent work.

  96. Avatar Dylan Power says:

    I’m in the U.K. but my mum is from South Africa and her family lives there. I had no idea

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