Exercise rights with restraint

2019-04-18 06:01

All South Africans have rights as enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

When one exercises his or her rights, the individual should not infringe on other citizens’ rights in any way.

In the South African Constitution we are all equal and we share the same rights, such as the right of association, the right to education, housing, proper healthcare and many more rights.

Last week, we saw a wave of unrest in the greater Lwandle area, where residents took to the street to voice their displeasure on issues they face as a community. We all accept that, and the fact that it is one’s right to demonstrate.

However, when you use this right to go overboard, vandalise and loot, then you automatically forfeit your right to protest.

The unrest started as a demonstration of unhappiness after the Red Ant Security Relocation and Eviction Service demolished structures illegally erected on privately-owned land.

But local business owners bore the brunt in the process, with liquor stores, spaza shops and more being looted and vandalised.

One needs to ask the question then, what does a shop or an organisation offering computer skills to people from this same community have to do with land invasion? I find no justification of this thuggery, no matter from which angle I look at it.

Yes, every struggle has its casualities, but when you harm and damage sources of help to you, what benefits do you get from that? Is this a result of leaderless, faceless people?

As we head to the May 8 national and provincial elections, we know different political parties will be canvassing to lure communities to trust them and hand them the reins. But can this be done at all costs?

Have people stopped using common sense, to think and do things for themselves? Or has desperation and thuggery got the better of us all?

Whatever the answer may be, burning property that is there to help you is not any sign of revolutionism. It is nothing short of anarchy!

Saturday 27 April marks the 25th anniversary of our country’s liberation with the celebration of Freedom Day. This is the day where citizens of all creeds and colour went to the polls to vote in our first democratic election in 1994.

Yet, 25 years later the same democracy struggle stalwarts fought valiantly for, is now being used to infringe on other people’s rights. This definitely cannot be allowed and should not be tolerated! Therefore, we cannot keep quiet.

Some locals use the same spaza shops as a source of income, renting the shop space to foreign shopkeepers. When you loot that shop, your actions impact not only the shop owner, but also the property owner and the rest of the community who frequent the store instead of travelling far to bigger stores.

So it’s really mind boggling why any human being would resort to vandalism of this kind.

The country is already crippled by high unemployment numbers and citizens are adapting various means to carve out a living in tough economic times. But this is completely destroyed within a day or two of complete mayhem.

This needs to change – not yesterday, but right now! Mzantsi is run by the rule of law and we all have to abide by it. Simple facts. V Share your views on this opinion piece by sending an email to mzwanele.mkalipi@media24.com.

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