The African Union Commission has condemned the violence in South Africa that has left 72 people dead.

Protests against the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma morphed into looting and destruction of property in some provinces.

“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.

The army was deployed to combat the violence and thousands have been arrested.

“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.

He said failure to resolve the crisis would have “grave impacts” in the country and the region.

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