Protesters should not destroy

2018-03-15 06:01
opinionThembile Ndabeni

opinionThembile Ndabeni

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The violence that engulfed Langa and Gugulethu recently must be condemned in the strongest possible terms because it was uncalled for and especially as it resulted in death and the destruction of property.

On the morning of 22 February, the Langa taxi rank resembled a war zone.

Two taxi drivers lay dead, while several people and school children were injured.

Two gunmen had led the violent attack and afterwards disappeared into the morning rush crowd.

Then from 25 February, housing protests erupted in Gugulethu. The protests turned into violence with cars being stoned and burnt. The violent protest was about a piece of land people saw as adequate for building houses.

In the midst of the violence in Gugulethu, Mzoli’s Restaurant, did not escape the rampage and destruction.

There was a huge outcry from people around who know the owner Mzoli and his wife Maphindi Ngcauzele.

Why should protesters destroy black businesses. This was the question uppermost in people’s minds.

Mzoli contributes a great deal to social programmes in the townships.

It is my belief that we are imbued with four institutions of ideological memory, which could help rescue us from this morass.

The Church. From pastors to preachers, men of the cloth used to challenge every wrong in our society especially with regards to morality.

They would jointly pray to the Creator for His intervention.

I think there is still respect for the men of cloth.

The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) as a custodian of Pan Africanism and African values, has a duty to educate the African masses on African values.

The PAC must prove itself. As Africans, the protestors needed to have their concerns by people who ascribe to the ideology of Pan Africanism.

The third is another ideology, similar to Pan Africanism, which is appealing to Africans, Black Consciousness.

Black Consciousness inculcates black pride.

It is this consciousness that should knock some sense into the protestors, so they can rediscover their worth..

The fourth is the community and the broad society.

During Apartheid, we would shout: “People united can never be defeated”, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”.

There is nothing wrong in protesting for house or service delivery, but how people go about doing is very important. Democracy is not synonymous with destruction or anarchy.

Constitutionally speaking, everybody has a right to life and property.

This is why service delivery protests and strikes must take place within the ambit of the law.

Let us not qualify what our colonisers said about us, that we cannot rule ourselves. We must prove to them that we are capable.

Human life and property must be respected.

The property we destroy belongs to our people.

At a broader level, we should not justify a negative perception of democracy that it is a “rule by the mob”.

The property and the amenities we destroy and vandalise in our communities belong to us.

Let us not make a mockery of ourselves as a people who proudly say that things started in our continent.

Protests and strikes are legal and are even put in black and white in the Constitution. Our rights to protest are the cornerstone of our Constitution.

But how undertake these protests must be within the confines of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

The destruction of property and loss of life are not part of the deal.

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