South Africa – protests get heated outside Gupta’s Saxonwold mansion

Mail and Guardian

#ZuptaMustFall protest gets tense outside Gupta mansion in Saxonwold

#ZumaMustFall protesters clash with BLF. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
#ZumaMustFall protesters clash with BLF. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

A heated confrontation between members of the Black  Land First (BLF) party and #ZumaMustFall protesters has been defused by police firing a stun grenade.

About 15 members of BLF arrived at a protest calling for president Jacob Zuma to step down and his friends, the Gupta family, to leave the country. The protestors carried South African flags and “Zuma Out” posters while chanting “Zuma Must Fall”. BLF members sang “Zuma My President” and chanted “One Settler One Bullet” while holding placards that read “#HandsOffZuma”

In an argument with a #ZumaMustFall protester, BLF member Lindsay Maasdorp said his party would only discuss Zuma leaving office once “white settlers return the land they took from black people and passed down to their descendants through inheritance.”

He further charged: “These [ZumaMustFall] people never protested for the Absa bank to pay back apartheid billions and they will never protest for the return of the land because they own the land!”

One woman, who said she is a resident of Saxonwold and did not want to be named, said she was protesting against the Guptas and Zuma because “corporate South Africa doesn’t need protests when they are found to have been wrong, they have a conscience and step down on their own.”

Police were forced to separate the BLF and #ZumaMustFall groups with police tape, as the confrontation threatened to get violent with BLF members tearing up the protesters’ placards.

Another Saxonwold resident, Maira Koutsoudakis, said she joined the #ZumaMustFall protest because “this is my suburb and my country, they must get out”.

“My family is originally from Greece and I am a permanent resident here. When you are a guest in someone else’s country, you treat them with the utmost respect. You don’t abuse and rape their economy,” Koutsoudakis added.

But not everyone at the protest agreed; 23-year-old Arthur Maloba said maybe the protesters were right about Zuma but “Why must he fall? I don’t agree. There are people doing worse things in the country”.

After spectating the opposing groups, the police warned the #ZumaMustFall protestors that they need to leave the area or action would be taken to forcefully remove them.

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