Media release

Statement by JCPS Cluster ministers on developments around violent protests in Tshwane and other areas

21 June 2016

21 June 2016

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media

This briefing is regrettably about the undemocratic and highly unprecedented scenes we have been witnessing, the outbreak of violent protests in and around the City of Tshwane. Government has noted that the sporadic violent protests are not confined only to the City of Tshwane but in other places in the country.

Government is closely monitoring the situation, just a while ago a delegation comprising Ministers David Mahlobo, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Gauteng Premier David Makhura as well as senior government officials visited Atteridgeville, Hammanskraal and Mamelodi. The destruction of property and chaos we have witnessed is highly unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue.

Government, calls for calm and for people to continue with their normal businesses as government is responding adequately to the situation. We also call on people to be vigilant and avoid any violence related activities. We also call on all people not to allow themselves to be misled by a lot of misinformation circulating on social media and other platforms which are intended to cause confusion and unnecessary panic. We will make the official announcement as and when is necessary.

Government has condemned and continues to condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and the destruction of property which occurred in these areas. Violence, damage to property and infrastructure and infringing on others’ rights and free movement including incitement of others to commit this type of offences will not be tolerated by law enforcement agencies. Those who make themselves guilty of such acts will face the full might of the law.

In this regard, government has increased visible policing of members of the South African Police Service(SAPS) and monitoring of hotspots will continue. The law enforcement agencies are currently hard at work to ensure that calm returns to all areas. Criminal matters arising out of these incidents are being prioritised, among others DPCI investigating and court cases will be prioritised so that matters can be dealt with speedily. Approximately about 20 cases are under investigation and so far some arrests have been made and some are in court.

The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster is working in a coordinated manner to ensure that all relevant state institutions respond adequately to the situation.

Government reiterates that violence is not the answer.  Our democracy offers many avenues for people or communities to address any grievances. We therefore call on communities to raise grievances within the confines of the law.  Those who ultimately decide to exercise their right to protest are advised to do so in a peaceful and orderly manner.

The Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful and unarmed assembly or demonstrations. It also allows for peaceful picketing and the presentation of petitions. Government, however has a responsibility to protect property and to protect those who do not wish to participate in protests or strikes against intimidation and/or threats of violence.

Security personnel will act decisively against individuals who engage in acts of intimidation and incitement or violence. The law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to arrest those who are found to have contravened the law.

Communities and individuals who are unhappy can express their dissatisfaction through a number of constructive platforms. These include public participation forums, Izimbizo, public hearings and other democratic processes. Those who ultimately decide to exercise their right to protest are advised to do so in a non-violent manner.

We have noted the criminal elements who have taken advantage of the situation by disrupting the socio-economic activities which has led to the closure of certain businesses. No public space will be turned into a no-go area. Government reiterates that any form of intimidation or looting by protestors will not be tolerated.

Government would like to thank the law enforcement agencies for their quick reaction to contain the situation and continued assistance in stabilising the affected areas. We would also like to thank all persons in these affected areas who continue to conduct themselves in a responsible and law-abiding manner.

The South African government has and will continue to ensure that all people within our borders are and feel safe.

Mr Siphiwe Dlamini 
Cell: 083 645 4294

Issued by GCIS on behalf of the JCPS Cluster

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