Cape Town plans to stop support for SONA

2017-02-12 19:45
Police at Parliament. (News24)

Police at Parliament. (News24)

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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town plans to retract its support for the next State of The Nation Address (SONA), calling the use of security "excessive and unnecessary".

This is after parliament doubled the number of road closures for the yearly address on Thursday and 441 SA National Defense Force troops were deployed.

Mayoral Committee member for Safety, JP Smith, told News24 on Sunday that he had discussed the matter with mayor Patricia de Lille on Friday.

"SONA is like a cancer. Every year it just grows bigger and bigger requiring more and more resources," Smith said.

"This is an over-reaction by parliament. It’s excessive and unnecessary."

According to Smith, the city deployed more than 270 metro-officers to assist police with the event.

"[This is] a tremendous amount of support we give," he said.

The city is not legally required to provide support for SONA, but does so out of goodwill, Smith said.

"The South African Police Service can do it without us. They will struggle, but we just can’t afford the resources any longer," Smith said.

"Next year we will not deploy our own metro police and [will] not assist with road closures."

On Wednesday News24 reported that intelligence agencies received threats of plans to erect shacks at parliament during SONA which led to the deployment of the SANDF there.

Smith said he does not know whether the threats justified the show of force.

"I don’t know if the threats were valid as we only hear about the threats, never see anything," he said.

Smith said he only saw one operational plan which the city and police worked on together.

"The only thing mentioned in the plan was protest, the EFF damaging church square, ANC and EFF clashing... There was not anything that legitimised the show of force," Smith said.

"[The show of force] contrast sharply with areas where there is minor capacity to fight crime."

Read more on:    da  |  cape town  |  sona 2017  |  security

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