By Ntombi Nkosi | IOL |
Police Minister Bheki Cele has confirmed 13 people have been arrested for the violent protests currently taking place in various parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
The 13 are among a group of people calling themselves supporters if former president Jacob Zuma. Their aim is to shut down the economy of the province until Zuma is released.
Zuma spent his first night at the Estcourt Correctional Centre on Wednesday as part of serving his 15 months’ imprisonment after he was found guilty of contempt of court for failing to appear at the State Capture Commission.
Cele has applauded the SAPS for the swift arrests and their good and professional behaviour. He encouraged them to continue doing their work.
Protesters were seen on Thursday and Friday blocking major roads using burning tyres and hijacking trucks, and dumping debris and rocks, preventing motorists’ free movement. They were also throwing stones at moving cars.
Cele said there were enough police deployed to calm the situation in the province, including Operational Response Services and those from Intelligence.
“I applaud and commend the manner in which police have conducted themselves for the past few days. Officers from the Hawks must also come here to assist. On Wednesday from 2pm police were in control of the situation, Major General Zulu was inside the homestead and left with Zuma around 11pm,” said Cele.
He said police would continue to monitor different places. Cele said there were areas declared as hot spots, but refused to name them. He assured South Africans that police were the ground.
Nkosentsha Shezi of the Radical Economic Transformation Champion confirmed that as Zuma supporters they had launched a #FreeZuma campaign and calling on masses from KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of the country to join peaceful demonstrations expressing their constitutional rights and anger against the treatment of Zuma.
“We are energised and excited by the standing up of the branches of the ANC. We are calling for a dissolution of the NEC and an early elective conference with immediate effect,” said Shezi.
Shezi added they were not part of the people causing chaos but encouraged people to continue with demonstrations.
He said there was a hunger strike by inmates at Estcourt. However, Correctional Services Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo dismissed the claims of a hunger strike at the Estcourt Correctional Centre as fake news
Nelson Mandela’s great-grandson, Mayibuye Mandela, said the #FreeZuma campaign was clear and simple.
“The demand is that the people’s president Zuma must be immediately and unconditionally released from prison. We stand strongly in solidarity with the father of RET and all the progressive forces struggling for real democracy and radical change for black people,” said Mandela.