South Africa under seige by mobs

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In a looted S. African mall, a man lies dead as the poor pick over scraps

“There’s a body over there,” said the fireman.

The back of a ravaged shopping mall in a Johannesburg suburb is where one man’s life came to an end.

There, among pallets piled on the chilly ground, a cardboard box that once held a giant TV covered the anonymous individual, a pool of blood around his legs.

He was killed in the looting the day before. But how? No-one is able to say.

South Africa is reeling from its greatest crisis since it brought the curtain down on apartheid three decades ago.

The country has been deeply traumatised by the sight of its own citizens casually robbing businesses as police stand by, seemingly powerless.

If a symbol were needed of this terrible moment, it could be found on Wednesday at the Vosloorus shopping centre on the northern outskirts of Johannesburg.

A mall that had once been a showcase for South Africa’s emerging middle class was overrun by crowds scavenging through its remains.

Grandmothers, youths and even children swarmed over the site, sifting through the debris and wandering into the shops to see what was left on the shelves.

On this frosty morning in the southern hemisphere winter, no-one seemed to be in any rush.

– ‘What a mess’ –

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