President Ramaphosa calls for unity amidst “ethnic criminality”

Image of Ramaphosa

Dylan Bettencourt

“There is no basis to these protests. They are based on ethnic criminality.” 

President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking amidst the continued protests in Gauteng, KZN and Mpumalanga, said the Constitution of South Africa allows for individuals to voice their concerns and express their opinion in peaceful protests. 

“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,” said the president.

He said the violent acts could be pinned down to notions of ethnic mobilisation.

“This must be condemned by everyone. 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,” he said. 

The protests have continued into Monday with no sign of slowing down. 

Ramaphosa said that these violent acts are slowing down an already struggling economy with shops being looted and destroyed and it was harming the government’s attempt to rebuild the economy. 

More than 200 suspects were arrested and six people have died in KZN and Gauteng since Sunday after violent protests erupted in both provinces.

A statement released by the National Joint Operation and Intelligence Structure said the police in those provinces will be on high alert. 

These protests are an attempt to get former president Jacob Zuma freed from his 15-month jail sentence handed to him for being in contempt of court. 

Zuma was arrested and detained last week Wednesday with his loyal supporters calling for his release.