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By Biodun Busari

Two protesters were reportedly shot dead on Monday in South Africa when policemen opened fire at the protesters during a demonstration against the high cost of utilities in the country, African News reports.

According to the report, the protest took place in the township of Tembisa, in the east of South Africa, the economic capital Johannesburg, where angry residents obstructed roads with burning tyres and also set a public building ablaze.

One of the main reasons why the demonstration took place was the rising electricity prices which the government of South Africa has not been able to find a lasting solution to among other issues.

There were “two fatal injuries” linked to the “protest action which took place in the early hours of the morning. It is alleged that they were shot,” said city police spokesperson, Kelebogile Thepa.

Independent Police Investigation Service spokeswoman, Lizzy Suping had earlier told AFP that an investigation was underway after recording “a victim of a gunshot fired by a member of the police.”

An upsurge of protests has been mounting in South Africa since last month despite the fact that the country is the most developed economy on the African continent, but is currently bedevilled with unemployment and crime.

Last month, former South African president Thabo Mbeki blamed the incumbent president Cyril Ramaphosa for failing to keep his promise to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment, which affects 34.5% of the population and rises to nearly 64% among the youngest.

Starting from half of the year 2021, the country witnessed a wave of riots and large-scale looting that have not been recorded in 30 years, which left 350 dead. The ten days of violence, which affected various parts of South Africa, followed the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, who was entangled in multiple corruption cases.

Notwithstanding, in the latest global innovative economies published by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), South Africa is the best in Africa as it ranked 61st on the table.

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