South African ruling party cobbles up emergency meeting as violent protests spread




Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg – The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says it is dealing with the situation in an NEC meeting sitting today designed to specifically deal with developments in the province.

Protests have erupted in the province since Thursday, after former president Jacob Zuma went into custody at the Estcourt Correctional Centre.

ANC KZN provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala and provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli are expected to give an update later on Saturday about the protest situation in the province.

They are currently engaged in the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the ANC giving update on the situation.

Last night Zikalala called for calm in the province.

There has been unrest across the province which started on Thursday and gained momentum yesterday resulting in the torching of 25 trucks and an undisclosed number of vehicles.

The protesters are demanding that the former president be released from the Estcourt Correctional facility where he is currently serving his 15 months sentence for contempt of court.

The sporadic destruction has led to damage to infrastructure including roads which is suspected to cause the province and companies millions of rands.

ANC KZN spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said a clear program of engaging with structures through the Provincial Working Committee (PWC) will happen tomorrow.

“There is nothing wrong in people protesting peacefully wherever they are, let us understand that South Africa is a democratic state with a constitution and all of us as ANC members owe a greater responsibility to guarding that constitution and the rule of law,” said Ntombela.

However, Ntombela said the judicial process is a separate process from the ANC, citing that it is independent.

KZN police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker confirmed that 27 suspects had been arrested and said more arrests are imminent,