July Unrest 2.0? Warning issued over possible MK Party protests

FirstRand has confirmed that it issued a memo warning of possible nationwide protests by the Jacob Zuma-led uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party.

The memo was issued after the Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma is ineligible to contest the 29 May elections. As a result, he has been removed from his party’s candidate list. However, his face will remain on the ballot box.


In the memo, FirstRand said MK Party members and supporters previously indicated that they would embark on a nationwide protest action in the event that Zuma is barred from contesting the elections.

The MK Party members in question include Visvin Reddy who was charged with incitement and former interim youth leader Bonginkosi Khanyile.

It is for this reason that FirstRand said it anticipates nationwide protests by MK Party supporters to voice out their dissatisfaction with the Apex Court’s decision.

The group said there is an increased risk of attempts to disrupt the upcoming elections likely by Zuma’s supporters.

“The risk of intimidation, malicious damage to property, arson, barricading of roads, looting, hijacking of trucks as well as clashes between members/supporters of the MK Party, opposing political parties and with authorities is high, should demonstrations take place.

“KwaZulu-Natal (and to a lesser extent Gauteng and Mpumalanga) is considered at an increased risk for unrest due to the support for both Zuma and the MK Party in the province (s),” FirstRand added.

Eye Witness News reported that the company confirmed that it issued the memo saying large financial institutions are required to constantly emerging risks within operating environment.

MK Party leader Jacob Zuma and Bonginkosi Khanyile. Image: X/@Bonginkosi_BG

“These assessments are shared with the operating entities on an ongoing basis to ensure frontline staff are fully informed and equipped to service customer needs and ensure business continuity,” FirstRand told the publication.

The warning comes as there was protest action and destruction in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng after the Constitutional Court sentenced Zuma to 15 months in prison for contempt of court in 2021. Zuma had refused to appear before the Zondo Commission.


In January, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) released its report on the 2021 July Unrest.

The Commission said the sporadic protests which resulted in the widespread looting and destruction of property in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, was well-orchestrated by well-resourced people.

According to the report, evidence presented showed that acts which occurred during the unrest were indeed orchestrated. This includes the blocking of the N3 and the N2.”

“The calculated destruction of factories and warehouses, the organised disconnection of security and fire alarm systems, the attack on government communication facilities at the Durban Port, and the bombing and removal of ATM’s – together cannot be viewed as mutually distinct,” the report read.