People have right to protest - Ramaphosa

2017-04-07 14:51
Cogta minister Des van Rooyen, Ethekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and Deputy President Cryril Ramaphosa at the third presidential local government summit. (Mahlatse Gallens, News24)

Cogta minister Des van Rooyen, Ethekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and Deputy President Cryril Ramaphosa at the third presidential local government summit. (Mahlatse Gallens, News24)

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Johannesburg - Every South African has the right to protest, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

He was speaking on the side-lines of the third Presidential Local Government Summit at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

His comments come amid unprecedented nationwide protests across the country, calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down. The protests have attracted South Africans from all walks of life, including religious leaders and civil society.

Ramaphosa's security detail would not allow any more questions to be asked.

However, he said every South African had the right to express themselves.

"We live in a democracy, so people have the right to express themselves, freedom of speech, freedom of action, as long as this happens peacefully," Ramaphosa told News24.

- Make your voice heard. Are you marching or anywhere near a live protest? Send us your eyewitness accounts and pictures

- Tweet us using the hashtag #SAunites

Servants of the people

He reiterated the Presidency's statement that government was not opposing the protest.

"We live in a free country," Ramaphosa said.

Earlier, he urged councillors attending the summit to commit to being servants of the people, being honest, and to taking care in the management of public resources.

"It is when we are honest, accountable and engage each other frankly that we are able to manage the tensions inherent in any human endeavour."

"We have made a solemn commitment to manage public resources with care, to deploy them effectively and to diligently safeguard them. We have made a solemn commitment not to place our personal interests ahead of the interests of the people," he said.

He said the government's biggest challenge was expanding economic opportunities closer to where they are needed most and overcoming persistent backlogs and inequalities in service delivery.

"Stimulating local economies means getting the basics right. It means consistent provision of water, electricity, good roads and efficient affordable public transport," Ramaphosa said.

Read more on:    cyril ­ramaphosa  |  johannesburg  |  protests  |  politics

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