Violent pro-Zuma protests that erupted in KwaZulu-Natal have now spread to many other parts of the country, including Johannesburg.
Scenes posted on social media throughout the weekend depicted Johannesburg’s inner city and surrounding areas as a post-apocalyptic war zone.
On Sunday night, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department said protests in the city and in Ekurhuleni have leaked into Jeppestown, Benrose, Dener, Berea, Hillbrow, Alexandra and the Johannesburg CBD.
Areas were barricaded with burning tyres, rocks and debris.
The M2 highway was forced to close in both directions due to major obstructions.
Gautrain Metrorail announced late on Sunday evening that no train services would be operating in any parts of the province, and that commuters in Gauteng should make alternative plans.
Protests forced Park Station to close on Sunday, affecting the Gautrain service from the station to Rosebank as well.
On Monday morning, South African Police Service (Saps) spokesperson Major-General Mathapelo Peters assured the media that an update on violence, looting and protests would be given.
Over the weekend, police arrested 18 suspects in Alexandra, seven in Jeppe, and 37 in KwaZulu-Natal.
ConCourt to blame, says Jacob Zuma Foundation
The widespread protest action is in reaction to the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma, who was recently sentenced to 15 months behind bars for contempt of court.
Jacob Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said on Saturday the protesters were being “provoked by the Constitutional Court”, which sentenced Zuma.
Although the foundation condemned the violence, it blamed the apex court’s decision to refuse Zuma’s right of appeal.
The foundation also said acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo failed to “use remedies applicable to him and the State Capture Commission”, and instead “ran to the Constitutional Court”.
“What we see happening on the ground is the righteous anger at all these injustices. It’s the righteous anger to what is happening to a 79-year-old man, an old pensioner sitting in a cold cell, his health is being negatively affected both physically and psychologically”.
Manyi said the anger seen during protests on Saturday “is an anger that says President Zuma does not deserve what was given to him”, adding that the former president deserves equal treatment but was not given equality before the law.