Chaos grips parts of Johannesburg, section of M2 closed as pro-Zuma riots spread

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  • The Johannesburg Metro Police Department has warned motorists to avoid the Johannesburg inner city after violence erupted on Saturday night.
  • Shops were looted and vehicles were shot at on Sunday.
  • Shops near Alexandra Mall were broken into and looted on Saturday night.

Pro-Zuma protests that started in KwaZulu-Natal reached Gauteng overnight and police have warned motorists to avoid Johannesburg's inner city.

The riots erupted in the Johannesburg inner city, police said on Sunday. Sections of the M2 highway were closed after protesters blocked the road with burning tyres and rocks on Saturday night.

The Joburg CBD's M2 East and M2 West in Denver are not accessible to motorists, according to Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Wayne Minnaar.

He said: 

Both exits are blocked. There's rocks, tyres and debris on the road. That section is still closed; motorists are advised to use other alternative routes.

He added that shops were looted in Jeppestown, and several vehicles were torched. In Alexandra, several shops near to the local shopping mall were broken into and looted. There were other reported incidents of looting across the CBD.

"Jeppestown, Benrose and Denver are volatile. Sporadic looting [and] chaotic scenes are happening this (Sunday) morning. The inner city is very volatile. There are incidents of people shooting at vehicles," the JMPD's Xolani Fihla said.

The protests started in KwaZulu-Natal after former president Jacob Zuma was taken into custody on Wednesday. The Constitutional Court sentenced him to 15 months in jail for failing to abide by an order to give evidence before the Zondo Commission.

'Shops are being looted'

Meanwhile, the protests in KwaZulu-Natal continued on Sunday. Durban residents woke up to at least 69 protests across the city, said eThekwini Metro Police Department (EMPD) spokesperson, Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad.

"Protesters are blocking roads, preventing vehicles from going through. Areas such as KwaMashu Highway, the Sea Cow Lake, Smithfield Road, China Mall and Reservoir Hill are volatile. Shops are being looted," he said on Sunday.

At least seven people were arrested during the mayhem in Durban.

Provincial police reported sporadic incidents of shop looting and attacks on trucks on Saturday night. Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said there were a few incidents involving trucks.

He said:

I do not yet have the exact number of trucks affected and specific incidents. There were a few incidents involving trucks in various parts of the province. A number of criminal incidents were also reported [on Saturday] night; nine people were arrested for looting of shops in Mariannhill.

At least 37 people were arrested in connection with the riots in the province.

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