Parts of Joburg gripped by violence reportedly linked to pro-Zuma protests
While shops were looted overnight in downtown Joburg, police in the KwaZulu-Natal province have said they were still dealing with sporadic incidents of looting and violence.
JOHANNESBURG – There have been reports that several sporadic incidents of violence, vandalism, and looting of shops in some parts of downtown Johannesburg since Saturday night.
It remained unclear what triggered the demonstrations, but there are indications that they could be linked to the pro-Zuma protests.
Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s Wayne Minnaar said, “Maboneng has been affected by the violence. Anderson Street and Berea Road are closed off to traffic, and the M2 freeway is still blocked off in the east and west direction because of a very tense situation there where there are still tyres and rocks on the road. It’s not safe for motorists to drive.”
OVERNIGHT PUBLIC VIOLENCE MAKES ITS MARK : THIS IS JEWEL STR. JOBURG. GP. WHOLE DEALERSHIPS BURNT. pic.twitter.com/JZey37Mhx1REZA (@crimeairnetwork) July 11, 2021
At the same time, police in the KwaZulu-Natal province has said they were still dealing with sporadic incidents of looting and violence overnight 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.
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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.”
CALLS FOR CALM AS BUSINESSES, INFRASTRUCTURE DAMAGED IN PROTEST VIOLENCE
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.
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.”