South African police department has vowed to launch mass arrest on the core initiators of Free Jacob Zuma protests that created unrest in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.
The unrest affected traffic flow especially on the popular N2 and N3 highways with so many protesters calling for the immediate release of the former president, Jacob Zuma.
Zuma has been detained at the Estcourt Correctional Services Centre. The protests trended on social media under the hashtags #FreeJacobZuma and #KZNShutdown.
National police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said police in KZN was working closely with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to formulate charges in respect of the protest actions which includes malicious damage to property, arson, looting and blocking, and the damage of national roads in and around Durban.
“These actions have clearly emanated from the calls that were made by certain prominent persons via the mainstream and social media space,” Naidoo said.
“These prominent individuals will most likely be the ones facing these charges and they will be called to account for these and any other crimes that may occur in the future”.
Protests, marred by burning debris and the use of trucks to blockade major roads were reported in parts of Durban, KwaDukuza, and Mtubatuba on the north coast, as well as in Umgababa, South Coast of the province.
On the N2 and the N3 highways, piles of sand and stone were strewn across the roads leading to traffic congestion which the provincial government said also led to the destruction of property running into millions.
Also affected was the M7 which is a strategic cargo transit route to the Port of Durban.
The protests led to Premier Sihle Zikalala calling for calm who said that police had developed a comprehensive multi-disciplinary provincial security plan and all law enforcement agencies were on high alert as they attended to “this unfortunate and unlawful situation taking place in the province”.