Looting, violence grips South Africa after Zuma court hearing

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Rioters looted shops and threw stones at police on Tuesday as days of violent protests triggered by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma spread across South Africa.

The military prepared to send in 2,500 troops as outnumbered police seemed helpless to prevent attacks on businesses in Zuma's home province KwaZulu-Natal and in Gauteng province, where the country's biggest city, Johannesburg, is located.

At least 30 people have been killed in the unrest that broke out last week when Zuma handed himself over to authorities.

Zuma, 79, was sentenced last month for defying a constitutional court order to give evidence at an inquiry investigating high-level corruption during his nine years in office until 2018.

(Reporting by Tim Cocks and Alexander Winning, Additional reporting by Wendell Roelf in Cape Town and Tanisha Heiberg in Johannesburg, Editing by Angus MacSwan)