image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionMore than 1,700 people have been arrested since disorder broke out

The South African government plans to deploy 25,000 troops after days of widespread looting and violence.

Some 72 people have died and over 1,700 have been arrested since the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma sparked the country's worst unrest in years.

Hundreds of shops and businesses have been looted and the government says it is acting to prevent food shortages.

Citizens are arming themselves and forming vigilante groups to protect their property from the rampage.

Some 208 incidents of looting and vandalism were recorded on Wednesday, the government said, as the number of troops deployed doubled to 5,000.

But Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said she had submitted a request for the deployment of 25,000 soldiers to the two provinces hit by violence – KwaZulu-Natal, where Durban is located, and Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg.