New Zimbabwe.com

SA Elections: KZN police, residents ready themselves for July unrest 2.0 after Zuma’s threats

Spread This News

News24


  • Police are preparing themselves to protect key parts of KwaZulu-Natal following the Electoral Commission of SA’s announcement of the 2024 general election results over the weekend.
  • Former president Jacob Zuma, the leader of the uMkontho weSizwe Party called on electoral commission on Saturday not to declare the results.
  • Two impeccable Crime Intelligence sources in the province told News24 that the police had been deployed to perceived hotspot areas from early evening on Sunday.

Police are preparing for possible unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, fearing an outbreak of riots similar to those that occurred in the province in July 2021, following the announcement of the results of the 2024 general elections on Sunday.

Two Crime Intelligence insiders revealed that by 17:00 on Sunday, scores of officers from the Public Order Police unit and Tactical Response Team were deployed to the area to prevent potential civil unrest.

Residents’ organisations and community policing forums are also preparing, saying that residents do not want to get caught on their back foot again.

No incidents have been reported so far.

On Saturday evening, former president Jacob Zuma, the face of the uMkontho weSizwe Party (MKP), insisted that the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) should not declare the election results until the party’s complaints, which included unsubstantiated vote-rigging claims, and its call for a recount were dealt with.

Zuma said any declaration would be tantamount to provoking the MK Party, which, along with several other political parties, had lodged objections with the IEC.

“We have a bigger right than anybody else to demand that, it is us who are citizens. Institutions can’t say: ‘We can’t listen to you and let us rush rush’ because that is provoking people in reality,” Zuma said.

Without providing proof, the party claimed there was vote-rigging and that the IEC’s systems had been sabotaged.

But when the results were announced on Sunday evening, the IEC declared the elections free and fair.

The MKP has emerged as the leading party in KwaZulu-Natal with 45% of the vote – more than twice the number of votes the ANC had obtained (18%).

The win for Zuma’s party comes after a myriad of failures and perceived arrogance from ANC politicians within provincial and national structures, who have been accused of failing to listen to concerns in KwaZulu-Natal.

By Saturday evening, there were already fears that another spate of unrest could occur in the province.

 

The July 2021 unrest was sparked when Zuma was arrested for defying a Constitutional Court order to appear before the Zondo Commission into state capture.

During the unrest, 350 people died, and damage to infrastructure and businesses cost South Africa’s economy R50 billion, with a further two million jobs lost or affected.

Resources deployed

An insider who has knowledge of police deployments in the province told News24 that police were sent to key areas and were keeping an ear to the ground for tip-offs on any “flare-ups”.

“We have been out and about overnight, from as early as about 17:00 in the Cato Ridge area, near Pietermaritzburg.”

The insider couldn’t divulge much on the operations, but said they were well prepared for any violence.

The insider said:

We know what happened before, and we are working ahead of time and at speed now to ensure that we are not caught lacking.

 

By Monday morning, key roads between Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal were clear.

Police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said they had no reports of blocked of roads or unrest since Sunday evening.

A Durban Crime Intelligence source said they were also on high alert.

“The structures are there and we have met and discussed things. We are going to be at key areas to prevent anything. We have a lot of boots on the ground, and we are checking for intelligence from all our resources.”

Communities mobilising

KwaMashu community policing forum (CPF) chairperson Xolo Hlatshwayo said they were also on high alert.

She said:

We are afraid of something like the July unrest occurring again. We cannot go back there. Our people lost a lot during that time.

 

She said that the unrest cost the community extra money in the form of transportation.

“The Bridge City Mall was destroyed, and we were forced to travel far out to places, like Gateway in Umhlanga. It cost people a lot and ruined many homes.”

She added that there were reports of a gathering at Midway Crossing Mall in Ntuzuma, but that it was quickly dispersed.

“Police saw a small crowd of people, but they were quickly removed. Those gatherings are a concern to us, but we are happy the police were alert. People must tell police of these incidents.”

Community leader and spokesperson for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in the North of eThekwini, Nazir Sadack, said they did not want to panic, but were also on alert for potential unrest incidents.

“We sent out messages for the community to remain calm. We do not want to panic. There are, however, precautionary measures in place. We don’t want to get caught out like we did in 2021.”

He said there were reports of gatherings, but it was unclear what they were related to.

“We cannot ascertain whether it is to celebrate the MKP win in KZN or something else. Either way, between us and police, we are monitoring everything.”

Asherville community leader Kody Chetty said the Asherville CPF has had plans in place in recent weeks, including 24-hour patrols, and stand-off points throughout the nights.

“There were also a few joint operations with SAPS and security companies for high visibility and presence. We had stations outside of the informal settlements and other hotspots.”

He said the Asherville community, which was hard hit during the unrest, “won’t be caught unawares like the last time”.

“And our members are ready to mobilise should any disruptions occur. With the high level of corruption and poor support from our elected officials, the community has pooled together and tapped into their own resources to get things done to help with security and safety.

“Through our vast networks, we are communicating with all sectors and ensuring that should any disruptions occur, we are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to protect our neighbourhoods.”