The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has expressed concern over the looting, destruction and violence that has trailed the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
NUSA, in a statement made available to newsmen by its President, Adetola Olubajo, urged Nigerians in South Africa, most especially in various cities in Kwa Zulu Natal and Gauteng Provinces, to be vigilant and adopt safety and security measures.
‘The union is highly disturbed seeing the extent of looting, destructions and violence perpetrated by the angry protesters during our fact-finding trip to Johannesburg this morning.
‘Violent protest erupted in KZN province during the weekend after the incarceration of former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. Over 18 trucks were set ablaze, businesses looted and properties damaged. These violent protests spread on Sunday to some cities in Gauteng, most especially Jeppestown, Jules Street, Hillbrow, Alexander, Springfield Park, Vosloorus areas of Johannesburg.
‘These violent looting and attacks are spreading rapidly to other areas of Gauteng and KZN Province. Cars were burnt and businesses belonging to both locals and foreign nationals were looted and destroyed by angry protesters.
‘The South African police confirmed the arrest of over 200 offenders, several injured people, including a police officer who was shot in Johannesburg yesterday and the death of six people. We are yet to get the identities of those arrested or deceased,’ Olubajo said.
Olubajo further said at the moment, the South African police were overwhelmed by the massive crowd, adding that the situation was out of hand.
‘We identified five businesses belonging to Nigerians looted and destroyed yesterday, Sunday, 11 July 2021, by the angry mob. It includes two car sales business outlets in Johannesburg.
‘The looting and destruction of properties continue unabated till today.
“The violence is spreading like a wildfire. Information reaching us from KZN province is that Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg, Bridge City Mall in KwaMashu and other major retail outlets in Durban CBD were set on fire after valuables were looted.
‘NUSA appeals to Nigerians to remain calm and law-abiding, but be very vigilant. Our national secretariat has already issued safety tips to Nigerians. We will continue to give such useful information to our people.
‘The union emergency management team are monitoring the situation and providing help to our nationals in areas we can.
‘We also urge Nigerians to continue to observe all COVID-19 protocols to avoid contracting the virus,’ Olubajo also said.
Meanwhile, the Consulate General of Nigeria in Johannesburg, South Africa, has warned against violence, following the developments in South Africa.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the Consulate General said it was watching with keen interest, the developments in the two Provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, where criminal elements have hijacked the unlawful protest to free former president Jacob Zuma.
‘According to reports, a considerable number of shops and establishments in Durban and Johannesburg, including those belonging to Nigerian nationals, have been burnt, looted and vandalized under the guise of protests.
‘It is established that these criminal elements engage in these acts in furtherance of their interest to loot, as well as vandalise private and public properties, and not necessarily in relations to the Zuma case.
‘While the violence is condemnable, the Consulate General commiserates with all Nigerians in particular and others alike who may have suffered any form of loss due to the violent protest, as well as encourage that lawful means to be explored to seek redress.
‘The Mission calls upon the relevant authorities to forestall the degeneration of the situation and to take proactive steps to prevent further loss of lives and properties.
‘The Consulate General call on all Nigerians to remain calm, cautious and avoid as much as possible, high-risk areas in order not to be caught up in the violent protest, as the police and other law enforcement agencies work assiduously to bring the situation under control,’ the Consulate General of Nigeria in Johannesburg said.