14 July 2021
The Government Communication and Information System condemns the violent riots which left business properties damaged and looted in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The impact of the riots has also been felt by community radio stations in KZN and Gauteng. On Tuesday, GCIS issued a statement condemning acts of criminality that Alex FM, Westside FM and Mamelodi FM were subjected to. GCIS now understands that there are additional reports of other community radio stations that have also been dealt a blow by the on-going violent protests and looting which include Intokozo FM, a community radio station based in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal.
GCIS Acting Director-General, Michael Currin has expressed sadness over the brutal acts that have left community radio stations and other important institutions of this country damaged and some, off air. “We are sad to hear of more damages that have been caused to community radio property. GCIS understands that some of these stations have now been taken off air, which is very unfortunate considering the role that community radio stations play in forging social change and uplifting communities. Since 2008, GCIS has created a direct working relationship with community radio entities across South Africa because we understand and believe in what they stand for” said Currin.
Highlighting the importance of community radio stations in a democratic society, and in promoting social change, Currin said: “The media at large plays a crucial role to the economic and political development of citizens and it creates a broad range of information to stimulate citizens on the various developmental issues in their country. The media is one of the pillars of our democracy and it remains an integral part of human civilization, and community media, serves as viable platform for the public to participate in the democratic process by expressing their views and opinions”.
GCIS would like to reiterate that the government will act to protect every person in this country against the threat of violence, including the media, and law enforcement officials will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute perpetrators. During this time of violent protests and looting, government will not allow humanity and dignity to be taken from any South African. South Africans are urged to unite in creating a better future for all by remaining calm, exercising restraint, and to resist any attempts to incite violence, create panic or fuel divisions.
Government notes continued efforts by the media to provide the nation with up to date information about issues unfolding in our society. Government also calls upon me the media to use their channels and influence to assist government in restoring law and order.
The government encourages members of the public to report incitement and acts of violence to the police by calling 08600 10111. Every person has a role to play in protecting and building South Africa - #ProtectSouthAfrica.
We remind South Africans to wash up, mask up, social distance and vaccinate.
Cell: 082 462 7896