South African Protesters Damage Shops in Center of Cape Town

South African protesters demanding faster delivery of public services looted shops in Cape Town’s central business district, police said.

Police at the scene tried to evacuate people involved in the march of about 3,500 that was organized by the Informal Settlements Organization, Captain Frederick van Wyk said by phone.

“As I am walking down the street I can see shops that have damaged windows,” van Wyk said.

Discontent with the failure of the national and provincial governments to provide services to the poor has sparked protests across the country. The Democratic Alliance, which governs Western Cape province and is South Africa’s main opposition party, blamed the protests on leaders of the Youth League of the ruling African National Congress.

“What happened during the protest march, namely the looting of shops and informal vendors in the City center, was shocking,” the Democratic Alliance said in a statement. “It is a clear proof that these thugs have no real service delivery concerns and their actions are all part of the ANC’s ongoing ungovernability campaign in the Western Cape.”

South Africa’s unemployment rate is 24.7 percent, the highest of more than 40 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg.

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