African National Congress (ANC) Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) member, Kwazi Mshengu, has called the loss of lives in Phoenix,  north of Durban, during last week’s violent unrest, a genocide.

Racial tensions flared up in the area between community protection groups and residents from the surrounding informal community, which prompted a wave of racial sentiment on social media.

More than 20 people are confirmed to have died in the skirmishes.

“We can simply categorise it as a genocide, that was as a result of racism that is still rife in those communities because really what we have seen is something we could not expect in our democratic dispensation. As the ANC, we will be meeting over the weekend to reflect on what has happened and probably call for even a commission of inquiry as what has happened around the area of Phoenix, Chatsworth as well as Northdale in Pietermaritzburg. But before we even get there we are very clear that we are calling for justice for the victims of these senseless killings,” Mshengu told SABC News after receiving a memorandum from Zuma’s supporters who had gathered outside the ANC’s offices in Durban, calling for former president Jacob Zuma’s release from prison.

Zuma was allowed to attend the funeral of his brother in Nkandla on Thursday:

 

Member of the ANC Women’s League in eThekwini, Maboni Chamane, was among those at the ANC’s provincial officials in Durban.

“We as the branches of eThekwini, we are at the grassroots level, we are saying that it is very unfair for bab’Msholozi not to be released from jail, understanding his age and his condition we all know that he is sickly, we are saying let us be respectful. We know his participation, his involvement in our struggle, he doesn’t deserve the treatment that he is getting. We respect the judiciary, but at the moment we don’t think that the processes that are taking place are fair,” she said.

Unrest update

Meanwhile the death toll of the unrest that followed Zuma’s incarceration in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has risen to 337.

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni confirmed the figure on Thursday afternoon, saying KwaZulu-Natal remains the province worst affected.

Ntshavheni briefs the media in the video below: