Worst violence in years rocks South Africa over arrest of ex-President Jacob Zuma. Last week, former South African President Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court. Zuma was found guilty of defying a court order to testify before a state-backed inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his term as President from 2009 to 2018. His supporters call for release of Zuma. Protests were also fanned by failing economy, raging pandemic and other reasons.
During protests, Indians have been attacked and ransacked. Concerned over the safety of Indian diaspora, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar spoke to his South African counterpart Dr. Naledi Pandor. EAM Jaishankar stated that the South African side has assured that its government is doing utmost to enforce law and order and asserted that early restoration of normalcy and peace was its overriding priority. Help has been poured in by Indian consulate as well.
News agency PTI reported, Zulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini has called for the violence and looting between Zulus and Indians to come to an end with “immediate effect”. The Zulu King appealed to his people to “embrace the Indians” because they share a land with them and also called for peace.
The looting and violence started off as a protest against the 15-month imprisonment of the former president of South Africa Jacob Zuma – also of Zulu descent, for contempt of court. South African government agencies and ministers on Wednesday said that the violence and looting was no longer about Zuma’s jailing, but organised by people with different vested interests, PTI reported.
Addressing the Zulu people’s dissatisfaction with the imprisonment of Zuma, KaZwelithini on Wednesday said that violence is “not the right way of expressing” it. “It creates a picture of people who have lost their dignity,” he added. According to the PTI report, senior former intelligence officers and other politicians loyal to Zuma, who have all not been charged or named yet, are being probed for being instigators of the violence.