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#KZNShutdown protests are bringing Durban and parts of KZN to a standstill. The protesters want Zuma to be released from jail. Photo: Twitter video screenshot

The Durban Chamber of Commerce has condemned the ongoing protests and violence in Durban and across the KwaZulu-Natal province, and called for “urgent intervention” as supporters of former President Jacob Zuma attempt to shutdown KZN in a demand for Zuma’s release from prison.

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Supporters of former South African President Jacob Zuma block the freeway with burning tyres during a protest in Peacevale, South Africa, July 9, 2021. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
Supporters of former South African President Jacob Zuma attend a protest in Peacevale
Supporters of former South African President Jacob Zuma block the freeway during a protest in Peacevale, South Africa, July 9, 2021. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Zuma was sentenced to 15-months imprisonment for contempt of court (failing to appear at the Zondo Commission of Enquiry when ordered to do so). His incarceration began late on Wednesday night.

Fellow inmates at Estcourt correctional facility have gone on a hunger strike in support of Zuma’s release; and videos and photos have been shared on social media from across the province of escalating violence as Zuma supporters call for the ex-leader’s freedom. There are reports that Durban, including the harbour, has ground to a halt.

Nigel Ward, President of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says the Chamber condemns “this disorderly behaviour and calls for urgent intervention from all spheres of government. We encourage law enforcement to take the necessary steps to arrest the situation.”


In a statement on Friday afternoon, Ward said the Chamber has been “monitoring disruptive groups protesting across the city and shutting down businesses, in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. The reason for this disruptive behaviour is known and is currently circulating in the media space following the arrest of the former President.

“Such behaviour has a negative effect on the business community which impacts the economy. As of this morning the impact has been devastating, from the traffic disruption on major highways, to the commuting of workers to their workplaces. We believe this unruly behaviour is detrimental to businesses and the economy.”

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Supporters of former South African President Jacob Zuma block the freeway with burning tyres during a protest in Peacevale, South Africa, July 9, 2021. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Ward added that with the current Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the province’s economy cannot afford the added strain, “more especially in high commercial areas such as the north region and N3 highway. Other confirmed areas include Umgeni, Alpine Road Opposite shell garage, N2 between Umhlanga, Sibaya, Ntuzuma E section, Canelands R102, Shongweni around Polo pony, and Verulam M27 past Spar Waterloo.”

Ward said: “Disruptive behaviour of this nature increases the country’s risk profile and threatens the return on investment.”

He said: “As organised business, we call for political stability and order. We remain committed to working with the public sector on co-curating workable solutions.”