AU calls for ’urgent restoration of peace and order’ as looting and violence continues in KZN, Gauteng
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Pretoria - Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has condemned the ongoing unrest and surge of violence which has left numerous people dead in South Africa, and called for an urgent restoration of peace and order in Africa’s economic powerhouse.
“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, condemns in the strongest terms the surge of violence that has resulted in the deaths of civilians and appalling scenes of the looting of public and private property, destruction of infrastructure, including the suspension of essential services in Kwazulu-Natal, Gauteng and other parts of South Africa,” the continental bloc said in a statement issued from Addis Ababa.
The former prime minister of Chad, on behalf of the African Union, sent out “deepest condolences” to the families of the victims and said he wishes a rapid and full recovery to the wounded.
The African Union has warned that instability in South Africa will inevitably have a negative impact on the Southern Africa Development Community as a region.
“The chairperson [Mahamat] calls for an urgent restoration of order, peace and stability in the country in full respect of the rule of law. He stresses that failure to do so can have grave impacts not only in the country but the region as a whole,” the AU said.
“The chairperson reiterates the full and unwavering solidarity of the African Union Commission with the government and people of South Africa.”
Neighbouring Botswana has urged its citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to parts of South Africa, particularly KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, due to ongoing violence triggered by protests against former president Jacob Zuma’s jailing for contempt of court last week.
In a statement on Tuesday, Botswana’s ministry of international affairs and cooperation advised nationals already in South Africa to exercise extreme caution and avoid unnecessary movement, especially in cities such as Johannesburg and Durban.
“Botswana truck drivers are also advised to consider alternative routes to avoid protest areas," the statement added.
Protests in South Africa pressing for Zuma’s release turned violent at the weekend, with shops looted and in some cases burnt in KZN and Gauteng.
The Constitutional Court sentenced Zuma to 15 months in jail after he defied a court order to appear before the Zondo commission probing allegations of state capture during his term in office.
The government has since deployed soldiers to help the police quell the violence.
African News Agency (ANA)