KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed nine people were arrested during the march which proceeded with only minor disruption.
According to police, about 10 000 people took part in the march which was organised by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and was aimed at condemning the recent violence directed against foreigners which has left at least five people dead in the city over the past week. The march was led by various political, religious and civic leaders and proceeded from the Curries Fountain Stadium to the Durban City Hall.
There was a heavy presence of armed police officials in uniform to ensure that dignitaries which included provincial Premier Senzo Mchunu, presidential spouse Thobeka Mabhija, Treasurer General of the ANC Zweli Mkhize and eThekwini Mayor, James Nxumalo, and all who participated in the march were unharmed and that peace and order prevailed throughout.
“SAPS and Metro Police members were deployed at strategic points while the proceedings were in progress at the City Hall,” Naicker said. “Unknown groups of individuals gathered outside the police barricade a kilometre away from the city hall and as they assembled they were swiftly dispersed by members of the Public Order Police (POP). There were no violent attacks or serious incidents reported throughout the march and even after participants of the march dispersed, however nine arrests were affected by police for illegal gathering and other of offences.”
KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General, Mmamonnye Ngobeni said: “I am happy with the overall operation as police were able to demonstrate that we have the capacity to police an event such as this and ensure that those volatile areas are also policed. We are appealing again to our communities, locals and foreign, to please heed the calls made by our leaders and to desist from illegal activities.”
Earlier, addressing the crowds at the Durban City Hall, Mchunu said: “Our enemy as Africans is poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and diseases ravaging us, it is not our nationality.”
He reinforced what other political leaders had said that “we are one, we are in Africa, we are Africans”.
Mchunu appealed to foreign nationals to respect locals, adding that South Africans would also respect them in return.
“We don’t want blood in the province, we want peace and solidarity,” said Mchunu.