Ramaphosa calls for calm amid violence after Zuma is jailed

Estcourt Correctional Centre

Estcourt Correctional Centre where former South African president Jacob Zuma began serving his 15-month sentence for contempt of court, in Estcourt on July 8, 2021. President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for calm after some people looted shops and burnt trucks calling for Zuma's release.

Photo credit: Rajesh Jantilal | AFP


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday called for calm after some people looted shops and burnt trucks calling for the release of former president Jacob Zuma.

"President Ramaphosa says the impact of public violence against the road freight industry and damage to freeways that serve as economic arteries will be felt also by the people organising and committing these crimes. The president says the reasons allegedly advanced for the violence in KwaZulu-Natal cannot be used to legitimise vandalism and public violence," said acting spokesperson in the presidency Tyrone Seale.

People burnt trucks and tyres on the N3, N2 and M7 and other key roads after Zuma was given a 15-month sentence for defying the Constitutional Court's order which compelled him to appear and give evidence at the state capture commission in February.

The South African police have arrested more than 20 people participating in the violent protest which resulted in at least 25 trucks being torched in KwaZulu-Natal.

Motorists attacked

On Friday, the "Free Zuma" group blocked roads, burning cars and attacking motorists calling for his release. The police on Saturday said they had beefed up deployment to contain the protests.

"A large number of people have already been arrested for incidents of criminality witnessed in the province yesterday and cases have been registered to trace and arrest those that still have to be arrested. A number of incidents were witnessed today of people who are opportunistic and used today's protest to enrich themselves by looting shops and other businesses," said KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Jay Naicker.

He stated that they will arrest those holding illegal gatherings, not observing curfew regulations and looting shops.

Naicker said they have deployed police officers across the province to deal with protests, adding that the long arm of the law will catch up with those committing crimes.