Pro-Zuma Protests rock South Africa; Leaders Call for Calm

Anarchy has been unleashed. I urge our President to take a firm stand. I know the responsibility upon his shoulders and I will willingly stand in support of any measures he takes to protect South Africa.

The arrest of former President Jacob Zuma has plunged South Africa into a wave of violence.

The violent protests which were sparked predominantly in KwaZulu Natal are now trickling into other parts of the country threatening businesses, peace and economic recovery.

Several reports obtained by Report Focus News signal the spread of violence as sporadic incidents of vandalism, and looting of shops in some parts of downtown Johannesburg.

It is believed that some elements of the pro-Zuma protests triggered the demonstrations.

The police in the KwaZulu-Natal province has said it has it’s hands full still dealing with sporadic incidents of looting and violence in areas affected by the pro-Zuma protests.

Reports of protesters setting tyres alight, and sporadic cases of looting of trucks centred on the N3 toll route.

Former President Jacob Zuma is serving a 15-month jail term for contempt of court, and the protesters are demanding his release.

The police’s Jay Naicker said reinforcements have been sent to the worst affected areas.

“Police still, late last night, had to attend to a number of incidents where roads were blockaded, and people attempted to loot shops. Police responded to a lot of these incidents and were able to disperse the people, and we continued to remain on high alert throughout the night.”

There have been numerous calls for calm and restraint in light of the pro-Zuma protests.

Protestors expressed anger over the former president’s incarceration.

Business Unity South Africa has called the violence abhorrent, irresponsible, and illegal, while Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi issued a statement calling for definitive action from the state.

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In his written statement commenting on the violence and looting that was sparked by the arrest of Zuma, Buthelezi said

“As we witness a country aflame with violent protests, looting, and destruction, it is clear that South Africa is being destroyed. This has become far bigger than politics. It has enveloped rogue and criminal elements, as well as an army of desperadoes who have nothing to lose in the face of poverty and unemployment. The State is bring held to ransom as citizens create anarchy.”

“While the Minister of Police has assured us that this wave of violence is being handled appropriately, it has not abated. Can it really be true that South Africa’s armed forces are unable to control the rampage of destruction by crowds of people intent on warring against the State and against those who live by the rule of law?

This is an internal war against ourselves, and South Africa cannot survive it. Ours was already a country on its knees. Such unchecked destruction will finish off any chance of recovery or economic survival. If there is any fear in acting against the perpetrators, that fear must be set aside for the sake of us all.”

“I recognise the constitutional right to protest, but that does not include the right to violent acts and destruction. Tragically the culture of violence is so deeply entrenched that our country is reaping the harvest of seeds sown decades ago. It is no coincidence that many of those committing these acts of violence are seen wearing the apparel of the ruling Party, just like those who were at Nkandla.”

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“In 1976, after the Soweto uprising, I was working closely with Mr Oliver Tambo and the ANC’s mission-in-exile. What had happened in Soweto led the ANC to call for ungovernability. They urged all oppressed South Africans to make this country ungovernable. While I understood this response, I warned Mr Tambo against it, for I foresaw the creation of a culture of violence and lawlessness that we would be hard-pressed to change or remove when we gained control of the country.”

“That culture of violence and lawlessness is evident now in the burning of trucks and vehicles, the destruction of property, looting and criminal attacks. How will the State react? South Africa cannot afford a slow response, particularly in the presence of a devastating pandemic.

Anarchy has been unleashed. I urge our President to take a firm stand. I know the responsibility upon his shoulders and I will willingly stand in support of any measures he takes to protect South Africa. But I also know that if he does not act now, and act decisively, all will be lost.

Our beloved country is aflame. We need to act.”

On Saturday president Cyril Ramaphosa called on protesters to stop the violence and stop damaging the economy.

Acting presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale said, “The protests cannot be used to break the law or to destroy property and threaten livelihoods. Criminal elements must be met with the full might of the law. The President also endorses the call by the premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala in his call for calm and for citizens to express themselves within the bounds of the law.”

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