The African National Congress (ANC) says it is concerned about the violence that has gripped some parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
In reaction to the protestors’ behaviour, the ruling party said it condemned the looting, destruction of property, and infrastructure in the strongest possible terms.
— Dudu Zuma-Sambudla (@DZumaSambudla) July 9, 2021
Protesters shut down highways and set fire to trucks in some parts of the province, calling for Jacob Zuma’s release from prison.
Zuma surrendered to the Escourt Correctional Facility in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday last week to begin his 15-month prison term.
The Constitutional Court found him guilty for refusing to testify before the State Capture Inquiry.
ANC National Spokesperson, Pule Mabe, says while the ruling party recognizes and respects the rights of those who wish to express their concerns peacefully, it denounces protesters who carry guns.
Mabe, said citizens must respect the rights of others and not use violence when exercising their constitutional rights.
Meanwhile, the Jacob Zuma Foundation says it has noted the reactive righteous anger of the people of the Republic of South Africa, which others have characterised as violence.
“When approached, they say they are responding to unlawful violence meted out to them, as proven by President Zuma’s arrest without trial,” said Manyi.
The foundation said it is gravely concerned about the impact former President Jacob Zuma’s incarceration is having on his health during this bitterly harsh winter.
However, Mabe believes that all concerns in a constitutional democracy must be voiced peacefully and legally.
“We are concerned that the destruction of property and impediment to the economy will sabotage efforts to create jobs and improve citizens’ lives,” Mabe added.
He said the ANC urges law enforcement agencies to respond strongly and swiftly, within the law, to any form of lawlessness, public violence, property damage, and disruption of economic activity and service delivery.
“We would like to commend the police for handling a highly volatile and difficult situation effectively,” said Mabe.
The KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Brigadier Jay Naicker, reported that 27 suspects have been arrested since Thursday. The suspects were charged with acts of public violence, burglaries, malicious damage to property, and violating lockdown laws.
He said the arrest followed the burning of several trucks and looting of numerous businesses in the Mooi River Central Business District, and that other suspects are being sought.
“At this stage, the N3 at Mooi River remains closed as the police and local authorities work together to remove the debris, burned trucks, and burning tyres piled up by demonstrators on numerous roads.
“Motorists are advised to avoid these roads or proceed with caution,” Naicker said.
Neicker said police deployment will continue in order to maintain stability and prevent violence from escalating.
In Gauteng, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has urged police to act swiftly against people or groups threatening to shut down parts of the province, including erecting roadblocks and forcing businesses to close.
The DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga claims several disturbing threats have flowed across social media in the past 24 hours, threatening further protests in the province.
He said there had already been attempts by individuals to block the movement of vehicles in Ekurhuleni on Saturday morning.
“Police Minister Bheki Cele, and, Community Safety MEC, Faith Mazibuko must take strong steps to ensure that Gauteng does not replicate the blatant KZN government hypocrisy.
Several lockdown restrictions have been disregarded with impunity, while law-abiding South Africans are still being unfairly penalised by losing their jobs and businesses closing down, “Msimanga added.