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

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KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala

Stop being violent.

That's the call from KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, to the supporters of former president Jacob Zuma, who on Friday blocked highways and stoned vehicles.

While Zikalala acknowledged Zuma’s imprisonment has angered some, he condemned the use of violence during protests.

“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,” he said in a statement.

The Zuma supporters, who have embarked on a Free Zuma campaign aimed at putting pressure on authorities to release the former president from jail, on Friday used trucks to block the N2 freeway in Empangeni and Mandini.

In Durban, the protesters blocked the M7 used by trucks to transport cargo to the Port of Durban. Zikalala warned that  the use of violence could result in those sympathising with Zuma turning against the protesters.

“We fully comprehend the feelings of the community, but unfortunately violent and destructive protests often affect or harm even the people who are not involved, and even those who share the very same pain and concerns of the protesters,” he said.

The provincial government, Zikalala said, would convene a meeting to come out with a strategy to respond to the violent protests. 

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