SEE | KZN rocked by widespread protests, premier calls on Zuma sympathisers to protest peacefully

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  • KwaZulu-Natal has been rocked with sporadic protests across the province.
  • Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma are believed to be behind the disruptions.
  • There have been reports of vehicles being stoned and at least one shop looted.

There were chaotic scenes in several areas and major townships in and around Durban on Friday as supporters of imprisoned former president Jacob Zuma took to the streets.

News24 visited parts of the city where people were demonstrating, including KwaMashu and Inanda.

Protesters strategically cordoned off Curnick Ndlovu Highway in Inanda hurling bottles at any motorists who attempted to pass by, including News24.

Bins, boulders, tires, tree branches, and other debris were used to blockade the main road.

Roads in KwaMashu were also carefully targeted, causing massive traffic jams and frustration for motorists.

The protest in Inanda commenced again in the afternoon just a few minutes after eThekwini metro police, who have been stretched thin with multiple protests in the city on Friday, left the area.

There were also multiple roads laden with debris from protests earlier in the day.

One resident spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity and said she expected disruptions throughout most of Friday.

"No one will say it, but yes, it is because of Zuma. But there are just a few of his people making others do this. That's what I saw. People will get back to their lives."

READ | Protests flare up in Durban over Zuma - Durban Chamber issues warning

Vehicles had to divert through smaller, residential roads causing traffic to build up due to the increase in vehicles.

Earlier, a Boxer Cash and Carry store in KwaMashu was looted as protesters broke a gate and grabbed boxes of groceries.

News24 also observed the blocking of several smaller roads linking KwaMashu and Inanda including streets near King Bhekuzulu Road off the Curnick Ndlovu Highway.

Municipal workers involved

eThekwini municipal workers have joined a wave of protest action in the city and its surrounds which have brought parts of the city to a standstill.

Footage from Verulam, north of Durban, showed Durban Solid Waste Trucks blocking the roadway, and tipping tons of refuse and waste onto the roadway.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Mandla Nsele said the alleged involvement of city workers would be investigated.

Police in the province, augmented by a force of officers drawn from across the country, have been stretched thin in responding to acts of violence and civil unrest.

KZN government responds

The KwaZulu-Natal government responded to the protests disrupting the province, calling for calm and "maximum adherence to the rule of law" in a statement on Friday afternoon.

The government said there were reports of vehicles being stoned "and millions worth of public infrastructure damaged resulting in many commuters not being able to reach their places of work".

"Police say a comprehensive multi-disciplinary provincial security plan has been developed and all law enforcement agencies are on high alert as they attend to this unfortunate and unlawful situation taking place in the province," read the statement.

The government said it believed people who supported Zuma and opposed his incarceration were behind the protests.

Zuma's daughter, Duduzile, posted several messages to Twitter encouraging the public violence.

She was widely accused of inciting violence after she posted an undated video showing someone firing shots at an ANC poster brandishing President Cyril Ramaphosa's face. She later deleted the tweet.

Many of Zuma's supporters blame Ramaphosa for his imprisonment, though none of them have provided evidence when making this claim.

KwaZulu-Natal's government said premier Sihle Zikalala "called for utmost discipline and for protesters to express their anger through legitimate and peaceful platforms". 

READ | 'Stop now' - Premier calls on KZN Zuma supporters to end the violence

"We understand the extreme anger of the people who are protesting. As a country and province we find ourselves in a very unusual and unique situation wherein we are dealing with the arrest of a former President of the ANC and the country. We are therefore dealing with very challenging times. However, we call on those who are protesting to do so through peaceful means and to avoid violence and destruction at all costs," said Zikalala.

The province also cautioned about the potential of Covid-19 spreading during the protests, at a time when the "rate of infection in the province has now hit double digits in the majority of the districts".

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