South African authorities call for calm on spillover risk of unrest

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South Africa
South Africa

Although the ongoing violent protests against the incarceration of former South African president Jacob Zuma are mainly concentrated in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces in the east, authorities in the western part have made calls for calm amid the potential spilling over.

Eastern Cape Province has pleaded its residents on Monday to resist any temptation to loot and to destroy and threaten jobs and economic activity as social media messages asked the public to attend so called massive strike in the provincial capital Bhisho and three major cities including Gqeberha, formerly Port Elizabeth, East London and Mthatha from Tuesday to Wednesday.

The provincial head of transport and safety Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe said in a statement that the aftermath of such actions will be “too much” to bear and that “harder to recover” for the “economically hamstrung province.”

While expressing respect to people’s right to protest, she called on them not to be drawn into any actions that may destroy their livelihoods and aggravate poverty.

The economic impact of business destruction and looting is likely to leave the masses worse off, she said.

Western Cape Province, which hosts the legislative capital Cape Town and is a major tourism and investment destination in the nation, on Monday said its law enforcement has “successfully brought under control” some isolated attempts at the related violence in the province and there are “no reports of looting.”

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde in a statement called people for calm and to respect for the rule of law.

Winde, who is from the official opposition party Democratic Alliance, said he will support “all appropriate measures” taken by the national government for order to be restored.

He also said the police and other law enforcement officials are “on full alert” in the Western Cape and remain ready to ensure law and order is maintained.

The police in Northern Cape Province have called on the residents of the provincial capital Kimberley to remain calm as numerous videos and messages on social media platforms called for a total shutdown in the diamond-rich city, the national public broadcaster the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported on Tuesday.

The police warned violent acts will not be tolerated and contingency plans are in place for any eventuality that may arise.

According to the report, there is currently high police visibility in some areas in Kimberley and police will be monitoring and patrolling the areas throughout the night.

Zuma was given the 15-month sentence after he was convicted of defying the Constitutional Court’s order which compelled him to appear and give evidence at the State Capture Commission in February.

The 79-year-old has challenged the sentence, whose judgement will be announced at a later date.

A total of 10 people have died while 757 have been arrested following the violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, said South African Police Minister Bheki Cele on Tuesday.

Hundreds of shops and businesses across the two provinces were looted.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said there are “opportunistic acts of criminality”, with groups of people instigating chaos merely as a cover for looting and theft, noting that there is no grievance, nor any political cause that can justify the ongoing violence and destruction in the country. Enditem

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