JOHANNESBURG. — The South African police said yesterday that they arrested 62 people in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Province as people protested against the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma started serving his 15 months jail for contempt of court from last Wednesday.
People in his hometown KwaZulu-Natal started looting shops, burning trucks and blocking roads calling for his release.
The protests spread to Gauteng, where the economic centre, Johannesburg, and administrative capital city Pretoria are located, on Saturday and Sunday.
In Johannesburg, many people chanting slogans in support of Zuma, marching in the city centre calling for Zuma’s release.
Shops closed and there was little movement in town.
“62 people have been arrested as the police continue to respond to opportunistic criminality emanating from violent protests over the weekend in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng province,” said spokesperson for the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) Colonel Brenda Muridili.
“The police are working closely with their respective local Metro police departments, have heightened visibility and remain on high alert in response to incidents of opportunistic criminality and violent protests in the two provinces over the weekend.”
Col Muridili stated that they arrested people who were looting businesses and barricading roads in Johannesburg’s Jeppe and Alexandra townships.
She said in another instance, about 800 people attacked police, resulting in the shooting of police officers who have now received medical attention in hospital.