Criminality in North West won’t be tolerated – Nathi Mthethwa

2014-04-28 17:18

Wanton and senseless criminal activity, including arson, in the North West would not be tolerated and the police should act swiftly to arrest criminals, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has said.

“These are criminal and anarchistic acts that can not be tolerated in a democracy. I have instructed the SA Police Service to act swiftly and decisively against the criminals who involved themselves in these crimes,” Mthethwa said today.

“The overwhelming majority of South Africans are peace loving and we cannot allow them to suffer because of the criminal acts of a few perpetrators. Police have already made significant arrests and expect to soon make more.”

Mthethwa said police had arrested 70 people in Bloemhof after a number of houses, including those of eight police officers, were torched.

In Rooigrond near Mafikeng, 12 people were arrested after the house of a councillor was burnt.

One person was arrested in connection with the torching of the ANC office in the Freedom Park informal settlement near Rustenburg last night.

Police were still looking for one person.

Mthethwa said the police have profiled people and expect to make arrests in the near future.

The police would oppose bail of those arrested so they will lose their right to vote in the elections as free South Africans, he said.

Acting ministerial spokesperson David Barritt said the violence was linked to service delivery but could disrupt the national elections on May 7, if it continued.

North West premier Thandi Modise also condemned the violence in the province and said platinum belt workers who are on strike should not disrupt electioneering.

“Workers who are involved in the protracted strike should not be misled into taking out their frustration on political parties that wish to campaign in the area as they are not part to the labour dispute involving the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and mining houses,” Modise said.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula’s door-to-door campaign in Freedom Park yesterday was disrupted when Amcu members turned violent.

According to weekend reports, Mbalula was taken away in a bulletproof vehicle when Amcu members threw stones at cars.

Modise appealed to political parties to “desist from making irresponsible and populist statements” to make the platinum belt a no-go area for other parties.

“With a new proposal on the table, it is now up to the parties to find one another for an urgent settlement to end the four-month old strike, which has had a devastating impact on them, our economy and in particular, the livelihood of miners and their families,” she said.

Members of Amcu at Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum have been on strike for the past three months, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500 for entry-level workers. On Thursday, Amcu rejected the latest offer from the platinum producers.

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