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RUSTENBURG – Botswana has urged its citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to parts of neighbouring South Africa, particularly the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, due to ongoing violence triggered by protests against former president Jacob Zuma’s jailing for contempt of court last week.
In a statement on Tuesday, the ministry of international affairs and cooperation advised nationals already in South Africa to exercise extreme caution and avoid unnecessary movement, especially in cities such as Johannesburg and Durban.
“Batswana truck drivers are also advised to consider alternative routes to avoid protest areas,” it added.
The ministry also cautioned against unnecessary travel to eSwatini due to civil unrest in that country against King Mswati III and the government.
“Batswana who are already in eSwatini are advised to exercise extreme caution and to avoid unnecessary movements within the country,” it said.
Protests in South Africa pressing for Zuma’s release turned violent at the weekend, with shops looted and in some cases burnt in KZN and Gauteng.
The Constitutional Court sentenced Zuma to 15 months in jail after he defied a court order to appear before the Zondo commission probing allegations of state capture during his term in office.
The South African government has since deployed soldiers to help the police quell the violence.
In eSwatini, a wave of violent protests swept through one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies, having started off as a push for democratic reforms in late June.
Among other issues, the demonstrators want people in eSwatini, previous called Swaziland, to have the right to choose the prime minister, as opposed to the king making the appointment. They are also demanding that Mswati relinquish his absolute power.
The protests turned violent on June 28, with buildings torched and shops looted, after acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku suspended the delivery of petitions to traditional administrative subdivisions, citing Covid-19 concerns.
The violence has left over 40 people dead at the ends of the army, according to democracy activists. The government has denied the military’s culpability.
Masuku has estimated the cost of the damage from the violence at three billion Emalangeni ($208-million).
– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa