Govt prepares for more protests

2018-05-16 06:01

A task team to monitor public protest hotspots in the province has been formed as the Department of Community Safety gears up for increased protests in the run-up to next year’s election.

MEC Mxolisi Kaunda said the provincial cabinet had formed the technical committee on public protests to be led by his department.

“Unfortunately, the majority of protests in the province do not adhere to the provisions of this act [Gatherings Act of 1993], and have adverse repercussions for our communities, commuters and the economy. They also divert the attention and stretch the resources of the police, who instead of focusing on fighting crime, have to manage public protests.

“As government, we are concerned about the recent spate of violent and illegal public protests in the province. In the last financial year alone, we have had approximately 530 protests. We anticipate that these protests will increase ahead of the 2019 general elections,” he said.

Kaunda, who was tabling the department’s budget at the legislature yesterday, said the committee would receive reports on service delivery protests, labour unrest, land invasions, interference with construction projects and critical infrastructure, public transport instability, instability at institutions of learning and faction fights.

He said the department would work with the multi-party political intervention committee to address political intolerance in areas identified.

Inkatha Freedom Party MPL Blessed Gwala said they were concerned about the lack of equipment and resources in the SAPS.

“Without the proper equipment and resources at their disposal, we cannot expect members of the SAPS to perform their duties at anything like an optimal level.”


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