#ReleaseZuma protests reignited
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DURBAN - FORMER president Jacob Zuma’s supporters have returned to the streets and vowed to continue with protests until he is released from prison.
A handful of his supporters gathered outside Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court where they picketed on Wednesday, demanding his release. Curnick Ndlovu Zone secretary Simiso Mkhize told the Daily News on Wednesday that they have decided to resume the #ReleaseZumaCampaign which was disrupted by mass looting and burning of property last week.
Mkhize said the violent protests were not part of the #ReleaseZumaCampaign. He said their campaign was disturbed by the violent scenes in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
“Ours is a peaceful one, but I know there were people who felt we were too disciplined to get what we wanted and decided to do differently, as you saw last week. This campaign is now divided into three categories and people have taken different ways to achieve it. Among those who were looting, there were people who chanted: Release Zuma. Some say he must be given a reduced sentence while the EFF says he must be given house arrest, but we are demanding unconditional release,” said Mkhize.
He said they would converge daily outside different magistrate’s courts to picket until Zuma was released. Curnick Ndlovu Zone, which included KwaMashu and Ntuzuma townships, is Zuma’s stronghold in the eThekwini region.
The violent protests soon after Zuma’s arrest started in these townships before escalating to other parts of the province. It was supporters from eThekwini who started gathering in Nkandla and vowed to prevent police from arresting Zuma in the days leading to the July 8 deadline. Thursday would be Zuma’s 14th day at Estcourt Correctional Centre where he is incarcerated.
Suspended Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veteran Association spokesperson Carl Niehaus told the Daily News the campaign for Zuma’s release had never stopped and would continue until he was released. He said “all they were saying” as leaders of the campaign was that it should be within the law and peaceful.
“Of course the campaign continues. It won’t stop until Zuma is released. We said and committed ourselves, that we will fight for his release, therefore the campaign will continue everywhere in the country,” said Niehaus.
Meanwhile, Niehaus is expected to return to the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court next week for breaking Covid-19 protocol two weeks ago. He was arrested while addressing the media outside the prison, a day after Zuma handing himself over to police.
There are fears that the return of the protests would degenerate into last week’s riots again. Many people believe that the genuine campaign was hijacked by people who had ulterior motives.