Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

Violence in South Africa intensifies after imprisonment of Jacob Zuma

Published on: 12 July, 2021


Supporters of President Jacob Zuma block the freeway in Peacevale [Reuters]

Supporters of President Jacob Zuma block the freeway in Peacevale [Reuters]

After a weekend of  violence in South Africa soldiers of the South African Defense Force (SANDF) have been deployed to Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng, the provinces where the violence was concentrated.

The violence broke out after the imprisonment of former South African President Jacob Zuma on 7 July. Trucks have been set alight, shops have been looted, roads have been blocked and property have been damaged. The violence had mainly been concentrated in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)

The official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, called on South African President Ramaphosa to authorize the deployment of the SANDF.

Many have called on the president to arrest the looters and other wrongdoers. According to Christi van der Westhuizen, associate professor at Nelson Mandela University the correct thing for Ramaphosa to do ‘is to arrest the people whose violent actions are violating the law.’

Since the start of the violence seven people have died and 219 people have been arrested. The police are investigating the deaths.

According to journalist Carien du Plessis, ‘The protests should have been expected as there is still a lot of support for Zuma in KwaZulu Natal province and more importantly,  a lot of people with business interests linked to Zuma’s faction that now have a lot to lose.’

Du Plessis said to Al Jazeera: ‘From what I could see there was a failure in intelligence and policing, with civilians now taking up guns to defend their businesses.’

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Tessa Dooms, director of Jasoro Consulting and political commentator, said: ‘There is a convergence of two major issues. It is a convergence of a political storm and also a socio-economic storm. One is that there is a political issue within the ANC where there are warring factions and there has not been any overt attempts to resolve the ANC’s internal battles. The inability to find political solutions to the ANC’s problems is now becoming a national crisis. Only the ANC is able to deal with the political problem of Zuma being in prison. This should really not be the moment that the ANC is dealing with this. They should have been dealing with this months ago. There have been warnings that people would mobilise to rise up to protect Jacob Zuma.’

On Friday Jacob Zuma failed in his attempt to have his arrest overturned by the High Court.