Minister Winde Calls For Swift Arrest of Known Khayelitsha Protest Instigators
Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde, has called for the swift arrest of the instigators of this morning’s protest in Khayelitsha, which erupted in chaos.
Tyres and rubble were set alight, blocking roads in and out of the area. This has resulted in Khayelitsha being declared a no-go zone for public transport operators such as MyCiti and Golden Arrow. Many children have been unable to get to school. Employees, who depend on their daily wage, cannot get to work, and the local clinic has been closed.
Said Winde: “This action has affected many innocent people: school children, those in need of medical assistance and employees. The names and contact details of the organisers of this action have been sent to me by the community. I have passed these details on to Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Jula, and call on him to put every effort into their swift arrest.
I have little doubt that their motives are political – with less than a month to go until the election, violent- and narrow-minded political parties are trying every desperate trick in the book to disrupt our communities. What they are doing, however, is hurting the very people they are purporting to serve. These tactics, which have been taken too far, have never worked. These thugs belong behind bars, not on our ballot papers.”
There has been a rapid increase in the number of protests since the beginning of the year.
Statistics gleaned from SAPS show that between 1 January and 30 March 2019, there were 325 incidents to which Public Order Policing responded. This increased from 91 in January, to 109 in February, to 125 in March. Protests in Cape Town alone jumped from 11 in January to 23 in March, while the rural town of Caledon experienced a combined total of 8 protests.
During this period, it has also been revealed that 156 people were arrested, for amongst others, damage to property and public violence.
Winde said: “The rapid rise in protest action, particularly violent incidences, is of huge concern. It is alleged that political parties are at the forefront of these protests, transporting people from one community into another, with the sole aim of disrupting the area’s daily activities.
I call on the police to investigate these claims, and should they emerge to be true, the instigators must be arrested and face the full might of the law.
I urge community members not be used by unscrupulous characters.
We all have the right to protest, but it must be done in a peaceful and orderly manner, without infringing on the rights of others. I have also written to the Provincial Police Commissioner to ascertain if more arrests are imminent and if anyone has been convicted.
The violent nature of our protests must also be addressed. Just last week we suffered two deaths during protest action in Caledon. I am still waiting for confirmation from Lt Gen Jula about the cause of death, as currently there are conflicting reports.
Based on the data provided and as we get closer to the elections, it is expected that the number of protests will increase. The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, is mandated to ensure that plans are in place to prevent and deal with any form of lawlessness. In light of the effect these protests are having on innocent residents, I call on the Minister to give assurances to the public that he has put these plans in place.
I implore the leaders of political parties to respect the safety of community members. Residents have a right to safe environments, in which they can get to work, school and healthcare facilities.”