The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) is deeply concerned about the violent service delivery protests that have led to the vandalism of public and private property. In two recent incidents, protesters from Boitumelong and Cavandale townships in the North West have set alight a community hall, nine houses, one belonging to a police officer and petrol bombed a police Nyala.
South Africa is a democratic country and therefore every member of the public has the right to demonstrate, but the public needs to be reminded that the right to protest comes with a responsibility. Yesterday President Jacob Zuma also added his voice and condemned these violent protests. He said the government had intensified its service delivery mandate by prioritising key basic needs. It is disturbing that protesting community members vandalise public facilities which are meant to provide them with services and later on blame the government for a lack of service delivery. As a civil rights union, POPCRU understands the public’s concerns and is more than willing to work hand in hand with communities, to ensure that their issues are addressed through proper channels.
However, we cannot sit back when public facilities are destroyed and the lives of general members of the public including our members are exposed to dangers posed by unruly protesters. POPCRU applauds its members who arrested more than 100 people for public violence and damage to property. We further appeal to the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that those who have committed these crimes don’t walk away freely but face the might of the law. POPCRU wishes its hospitalised members who sustained injuries while clashing with protesters a speedy recovery.
Issued by POPCRU 09/04/2014
Media & Communications Officer
Tel: 011 242 4615
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