The crisis surrounding former South African President Jacob Zuma’s detention intensified on Tuesday, with police revealing that 72 people had been killed and 1,234 people had been arrested in connection with the issue.

Yesterday, dozens clashed with the police and burned retail centres in the major cities as grievances sparked by the former President’s imprisonment snowballed into the worst violence in decades.

Following Zuma’s arrest last week, protests have turned into an outpouring of rage about the inequity that still exists 27 years after apartheid ended.

Security officials said the government was striving to put an end to the violence and looting that had expanded from Zuma’s home region of KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg, the country’s largest metropolis, and the province of Gauteng surrounding it.

As protests devolved into looting and violence, the South African Police Service (SAPS) stated late Tuesday that 72 people had died and 1,234 had been arrested in the last several days.