Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on communities in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) to desist from undermining the rule of law and inflicting damage on the economy.
Ramaphosa’s call comes after sporadic violence and destruction ravaged a number of areas province-wide by protesters who are calling for the release of former president Jacob Zuma from the Estcourt Correctional Centre where he is serving his 15-month sentence.
Today marked the third day since violence had been experienced in KZN.
Millions or rands worth of infrastructure and trucks have been torched by the #KZNShutDown protesters.
“The impact of public violence against the road freight industry and damage to freeways that serve as economic arteries will be felt also by the people organising and committing these crimes. The reasons allegedly advanced for the violence in KwaZulu-Natal cannot be used to legitimise vandalism and public violence,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa added that the Constitution protects the right to protest but protest cannot be abused to break the law or to destroy property and threaten livelihoods. Criminal elements must be met with the full might of the law.
Ramaphosa commended the South African Police Service for their efforts to quell violence.
He endorses the call by KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala for calm in the province and for citizens to express themselves within the bounds of the law.
Zikalala said the protests were damaging the economy and they should come to an end.
“It is believed that those behind the protests are people that are opposed to the incarceration of the former president of the republic, His Excellency Jacob Zuma,” Zikalala said.
He called for utmost discipline and for protesters to express their anger through legitimate and peaceful platforms.