PICS: Free Zuma protests set to escalate in KZN

By Zainul Dawood Time of article published Jul 12, 2021

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Durban: Protest and looting of shops allegedly linked to the Free Jacob Zuma campaign are expected to intensify in KwaZulu-Natal this week.

On Sunday, protests in Durban were staged in KwaMashu, Pinetown, Marianhill, Reservoir Hills, Newlands, Mayville and near Dalton Hostel where a truck was set alight on Sydney Road.

Bystanders near the blazing truck said they wanted Zuma to be freed and until then nothing would be allowed to happen in the province.

Ray Jeawon from the Reservoir Hills Community Policing Forum said shops at the Reservoir Hills Mall were extensively damaged and some looted. “This is pure criminality. Criminals are being opportunistic. We don’t know when it will stir up again,” Jeawon said.

A Pinetown cellphone shop owner Yaphat Rehamat said they saw mobs approaching the shopping centre and closed shop.

Rehamat said life was more important but losing stock set them back.

“They broke the burglar gate and smashed open a hole in the glass door with a hammer. They took stock including customers’ phones left for repairs to the value of R200 000. The police arrested more than a dozen at the scene.”

In Kenville, LivinStyle Furniture director Haroun Moola said he received a call at 8pm on Saturday informing him of looting at his business in Crown Road. At 3am on Sunday, he received another call from a neighbour, Ahmed Kharodia, stating the three-storey building was on fire. He said emergency services could not get to his building because the roads were barricaded with rocks and burning debris.

On Sunday, the Daily News found him securing the premises to prevent anyone from getting into the collapsing building.

“I lost nearly R10 million worth of stock. This lawlessness must end. Some criminals are taking advantage of the situation.” Kharodia estimated that damage to his outbuilding were around R30 000.

“I was at the scene with my tenants watching the fire engulf the building. A huge chunk of the brick wall and roof collapsed onto my building causing considerable damage. Thank god my tenants were standing beside me and were not inside the room. ”

The number of arrests made in KZN is expected to increase. On Sunday, national police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said 37 people were arrested. She said police were working closely with Durban Metro Police to disperse crowds and foil attempts to barricade roads. “The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) is working around the clock to enhance operational capacity.”

Nigel Ward, president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the recent protests have had a devastating impact on businesses.

“From Friday morning the traffic disruptions made it difficult for employees to commute to work with some businesses having to shut down their operations completely to minimise risk. This disruptive activity is damaging to the economic infrastructure, the threat on food security should be taken very seriously. Producers of essential foods have now decided to temporarily shut down. Their on-site factories had to stop production, due to the non-movement of stock from Friday. This has had an impact on job security and livelihoods, as workers will have to stay home, be placed on short time or even retrenched.”

The Durban Chamber “strongly condemned” the violent attacks on shopping centres and major retailers and called on the president to declare KZN a state of disaster and to deploy the SA National Defence Force to assist.

“The province cannot afford for this disruptive behaviour to continue into the new week. The economic consequences will be detrimental and the impact on the economy will undoubtedly impact the country’s risk profile.”

Daily News

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