Protestors Erode Safety, Impact on Schools and Healthcare
I welcome the arrest of 20 protestors in Lwandle for public violence, and call on the police to bring this same energy to arresting the instigators of yesterday’s Khayelitsha protests.
I understand from the Provincial Department of Education that 21 schools were closed with around 25 000 learners not attending class due to fears for their safety. This infringement on the rights of our children is shocking.
The Provincial Department of Health reports that the Nomzamo Community Day Centre in Strand is still closed as staff are unable to get to work. This means the 375 patients that frequent this facility daily are not able to receive necessary services.
Yesterday, the EMS were challenged in transferring patients from primary health care facilities to hospital, while the Khayelitsha Hospital had to function on skeleton staff. I commend the staff of our public facilities, who, despite all the difficulties, kept services going at the hospital.
We have tragically already lost two lives during protest action in Caledon. We are facing a situation in which more lives could be lost as a result of immoral protest organisers. This irresponsible, thug-like behavior and action must stop immediately.
The lawlessness we’ve experienced over the last few days have clear political motivations, while criminals are also taking advantage of this opportunity.
We all have the right to protest, but it must be done in a peaceful manner, without infringing on the rights of others.
I call on communities to report all instigators to the police, so that they can face the full might of the law, and on political leaders to not only condemn these actions, but to also respect the safety and rights of community members.