The African Union Commission has condemned the violence in South Africa that has left 72 people dead, warning that the unrest could have an impact on the region
Violent protests initially broke out in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday but morphed into looting and destruction of property in some provinces and fuelled by calls to free former president Jacob Zuma from prison.
More than 1 200 people have been arrested for public violence and economic sabotage.
Zuma is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of a Constitutional Court order.
“The [AU commission Chairperson] Moussa Faki Mahamat, condemns in the strongest terms the surge of violence that has resulted in the deaths of civilians and appalling scenes of the looting of public and private property,” the commission said in a statement.
He said failure to resolve the crisis would have “grave impacts” on the country and the region. “The chairperson extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a rapid and full recovery to the wounded,” the statement read.
“The chairperson calls for an urgent restoration of order, peace and stability in the country in full respect of the rule of law,” the statement added.