Three weeks ago KZN and Gauteng provinces saw violent protests that made all sorts of headlines for the wrong reasons. In the wake of those daring protests, the ANC is more than worried if Jacob Zuma trial slatted for 10 August won’t rekindle the unrest.
The Free Jacob Zuma protesters have already made it known that they will be taking it to the streets until the government consider their demands. A protest is already being planned for 10 August when former President Jacob Zuma appears in court, and the police are worried that stolen ammunition could be used in new attacks.
Zuma is currently serving a 15-month jail sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre for contempt of court. His sentence came after ignoring calls to appear before the Zondo Commission.
Despite being behind bars already Zuma’s corruption trial related to the arms deal will start in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg. Zuma is accused of taking bribes from his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, in exchange for political influence linked to the South African military procurement programme.
He is facing 16 counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering. Zuma pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the trial will begin on Tuesday, 10 August. The City Press reported that there are now renewed concerns about violence in KwaZulu-Natal.
According to the newspaper, the police is particularly worried that protestors will use ammunition stolen from a depot during the riots on the day Zuma appears in court. Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni recently confirmed that rioters looted ammunition. The ammunition was looted from a shipping container at a depot in Prospection in Durban South.
Several reports have it that some missing ammunition was recovered. However, Mail & Guardian reported that the bulk of the 14-tonne consignment remains missing. Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies Johan Burger warned that this ammunition could be used during more public violence. It did not take long for Burger’s warning to become true. News24 reported that the stolen ammunition has already been used to attack police officers on Thursday.