South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the violence that has rocked the country’s biggest economic provinces in recent days after the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma.
He has also given a strong warning to the offenders, amid mounting public outrage over the violence.
South Africa’s two provinces, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, witnessed a series of violent protests over the weekend.
The protest, which was initially started by supporters of former President Zuma, soon turned into criminal activity.
According to police, 62 people had been arrested until Sunday morning in both the provinces for vandalism, looting, blocking roads.
President Ramaphosa on Sunday sent out a stern message to the violent protestors.
“It is a matter of concern to all South Africans that some of these acts of violence are based on ethnic mobilisation.While there are those who may be hurt and angry at this moment, there can never be any justification for such violent, destructive and disruptive actions.This must be condemned by all South Africans at all costs as we are a nation committed to non-racialism and non-tribalism that is underpinned by the diversity and unity of all the people of South Africa, whatever their language, culture, religious beliefs and race,” the president said.
“Let us be clear, as a nation, that we will not tolerate acts of criminality.Those who are involved in acts of violence will be arrested and prosecuted.Those found guilty of breaking the lockdown regulations will receive the stipulated penalty. This will be done without fear or favour, “Ramaphosa said.
The President also cautioned those attempting to create confusion by sharing false images and videos, often from events that took place many years ago.
“I ask that you think carefully before sharing anything on social media,” he said.
While President Ramaphosa was addressing the nation, looting continued in various areas of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
The Constitutional Court is expected to hear the former President’s application for a rescission of his 15-month prison sentence on Monday.