Pope Francis is appealing for peace in South Africa, following riots which claimed over 200 lives and lasted for an entire week

 While parts of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng seem to be returning to some level of calm and normalcy, Pope Francis has urged religious leaders in the country to work on building peace and collaborate with the authorities to provide assistance to the needy.

The Pope delivered his blessings to a crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Rome on Sunday, 18 July 2021. He has joined other leaders in parts of the globe who have weighed in on the riots which ravaged parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) last week.

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Pope Francis

“Unfortunately, in this past week we have received news of episodes of violence that are aggravating the situation of so many of our brothers and sisters in South Africa,” the Pope said.

The Pope had just undergone an operation earlier in the month, to remove half his colon.

“May the desire, that guided the people of South Africa, the rebirth of harmony among all its children, never be forgotten.”

Pope Francis

The unrest started out as demonstrations demanding former president Jacob Zuma’s release from prison in KZN, but soon morphed into violent looting sprees that spread to parts of Gauteng. Chaotic scenes coming from both provinces showed thousands of citizens looting malls, shops and other establishments.


Pope Francis further touched on South Africa’s tough social and economic reality, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which jobs were lost and some health facilities are still battling to cope with the influx of patients of the respiratory disease.

“Together with the bishops of the country I direct my heartfelt appeal to all those with responsibility who are involved, that they may work for peace and collaborate with the authorities to provide assistance to those in need,” he said.

Meanwhile, the number of people arrested in connection with last week’s riots now sits at 3 407. The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) says it has been inundated with tip-offs received telephonically and on its SAPS app, which helped them recover some of the items that were looted in both Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal (KZN).

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