Jail of Jacob Zuma: Cars set on fire, Parliament calls for calm

South Africa’s parliament called for calm on Sunday following violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces since the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.

“Such acts, including burning trucks, destroying public and private property and obstructing freedom of movement threaten the right to life, peace and the means of subsistence, at a time when nation is also suffering hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ”Parliament spokesman Moloto Mothapo said.

Warning against the dissemination of “false information” via social networks that would incite violence or any illegal activity, Mothapo stressed that “the rule of law and the supremacy of the constitution must prevail and be observed by all."

Violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal province have continued to escalate since Mr. Zuma's imprisonment. The Constitutional Court sentenced him at the end of June to 15 months in prison for contempt of justice.

Tensions have been escalating since Friday evening with hundreds of protesters blocking national roads and highways, looting shops and torching around 30 trucks.

On Saturday, the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, deplored the violence which continues to shake KwaZulu-Natal, stronghold of Mr. Zuma, calling on the demonstrators to calm. “Mr. Ramaphosa urged communities in KwaZulu-Natal to refrain from undermining the rule of law and inflicting damage on the economy, ”the presidency said.

Last April, the Constitutional Court examined a petition filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission demanding prison time for Zuma for his refusal to testify before her. The ex-president disregarded a ruling by the country's highest court that required him to testify on corruption charges against him.

Gihane Allam