By Patience Lunda:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is monitoring the situation in South Africa, where rioting mobs are destroying property and looting to force the authorities to free former president Jacob Zuma from prison.
Last week, 79-year-old Zuma handed himself in to police to begin serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court and is being kept at Estcourt Correctional Centre in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuma was handed the jail term after he failed to attend a corruption inquiry.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Rejoice Shumba said officials in Malawi are observing the situation in South Africa through the Malawian Embassy in Pretoria and Consulate in Johannesburg, both in South Africa.
She said no Malawian had been injured, killed or arrested in connection with the riots.
Shumba said they were monitoring the situation to ensure that Malawians living in South Africa were safe.
Shumba further asked Malawians in South Africa to desist from taking part in the riots as that would put them at a greater risk of being affected by the outcomes of the violence.
“We are saddened by what is happening in South Africa but we are optimistic that their issues will be resolved amicably and our plea to Malawians in that country is that they should not be part of the violence because that will get them on the wrong side of the law,” she said.
As of Thursday, the death toll had risen to 109 and most of the deaths were related to stampedes occurring during incidents of looting of shops.
Meanwhile, People’s Federation for National Peace and Development Executive Director Edward Chaka has urged the Malawian authorities to be providing daily updates so that relatives of those who are in South Africa can be assured of the safety of Malawians there.