The current demonstrations and violence in Durban and across the KwaZulu-Natal area has been condemned by the The Durban Chamber of Commerce, and called for serious intervention as followers of past South African President Jacob Zuma are putting in effort to shutdown KZN in a request for Zuma’s release from jail.
The state is in a critical point in KwaZulu-Natal after the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma with key economic regions in the area overwhelmed by intense protests. The protests are said to be part of a series of protests intended by Zuma followers to put burden on the administration to set Zuma free.
Zuma was sent to prison for contempt of court for his refusal to appear at the Zondo Commission of Enquiry when requested to do so. His imprisonment started late on Wednesday night.
WATCH: Just a few minutes after @eThekwiniM Metro Police leave Curnick Ndlovu Highway, which runs through KwaMashu & Inanda, protesters again block the main road. Bottles were thrown at my vehicle for recording. @News24 @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/sdPbiGVV3J
— Kaveel Singh (@kaveels) July 9, 2021
BREAKING NEWS: Durban is completely on shutdown. The Metro Police have been deployed.
— Mfundoyakhe Shezi 🇿🇦 (@Mfundoyakhe_S) July 9, 2021
Fellow prisoners at Estcourt correctional facility have gone on a hunger strike as they protest for the release of former president and visuals and photographs have been seen in the public space including on social media from corner to corner of the province of rising violence as Zuma supporters request the ex-leader’s freedom. Reports reaching us is that Durban, including the harbor is not in standstill.
Estcourt prisoners have embarked on protest to demand the release of former president Jacob Zuma!
— BMacM (@1BMacM) July 9, 2021
Nigel Ward, President of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says the Chamber condemns this messy conduct and requests for immediate interference from all circles of government. “We encourage law enforcement to take the necessary steps to arrest the situation.”
In a speech on Friday late afternoon, ward said the Chamber has been watching unruly individuals protesting through the city and shutting trades, in the region of KwaZulu-Natal. The cause of this unsettling conduct is identified and is presently circulating in the media space after the arrest of the previous President Jacob Zuma.
Such behavior has a negative effect on the business community which impacts the economy. As of this morning the impact has been devastating, from the traffic disruption on major highways, to the commuting of workers to their workplaces. We believe this unruly behavior is detrimental to businesses and the economy.
Ward further added that with the existing Covid-19 restriction rules, the region’s budget cannot manage to pay for the new strain, more particularly in high viable zones such as the north region and N3 highway. Other areas taken to account are Umgeni, Alpine Road Opposite shell garage, N2 between Umhlanga, Sibaya, Ntuzuma E section, Canelands R102, Shongweni around Polo pony, and Verulam M27 past Spar Waterloo.
— Mbuso Ngcobo (@MbusoDavid7) July 9, 2021
On Friday, road traffic on most important roads in the province came to a standstill with heated protesters using wreckage and burning tyres to block vehicles. On the N2 freeway near KwaDukuza, north coast of KZN, two individuals were described shot and dead by fuming protesters.
— REZA (@crimeairnetwork) July 9, 2021
All ways leading to the Estcourt prison where Zuma is being held were also blocked making it challenging to reach the correctional facility. The stoppage reported to be fronted by diverse community foundations as well as taxi associations and churches.
The coordinator of taxi associations in KwaZulu-Natal, Zweli Dladla, who are organizing support groups for Zuma, told Sunday World on Friday that they had warned that if Zuma gets arrested, they will go for this protest, he added that they are just beginning and if Zuma is suffering in jail, not one person will enjoy peace.
On the N3 freeway near Mooi River, an unidentified number of automobiles were set on fire. Shops owned by foreigners were also allegedly robbed by the protesters.
Ward said disorderly behavior of this nature raises the nation’s risk profile and threatens the return on investment.
He said: “As organised business, we call for political stability and order. We remain committed to working with the public sector on co-curating workable solutions.”
Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, KZN police representative said forces had been set out to monitor the state of affairs. #KZNshutdown has been the biggest Twitter trend since the protesting began.
Zuma was sentenced to a 15-month jail term after the Constitutional Court found him guilty of being in contempt.
On Wednesday, he was admitted to the Estcourt Correctional Service centre after he shunned an apex court judgement that directed him to appear and testify at the State Capture Commission.
Police KZN were very busy trying to get things under control, as there were various efforts to block roads and cause disruption.
Premier Sihle Zikalala said, “Several vehicles were reportedly stoned, and millions worth of public infrastructure damage, resulting in many commuters not being able to reach their places of work. We call on those who are protesting to do so through peaceful means and avoid violence and destruction at all cost.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele who went to pay the province a visit on Thursday, said disciplinary set-ups were on track and they are going to charge those involved with counts of economic disruption.