Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says police are working hard to bring calm and maintain law and order in protesting communities in the south of Johannesburg.
Eldorado Park, Freedom Park, Kliptown, Ennerdale, Lenasia and Finetown have been gripped by violent service delivery protests, which saw several shops being looted and vandalised and roads barricaded with burning tyres and stones.
Police have arrested more than 70 people since the start of the protests.
Minister Mbalula, who visited Eldorado Park on Wednesday, condemned the attacks on police vehicles, a police station and police officers.
“Police officers are there to maintain law and order and to ensure that the rights of protestors are protected, but equally, to ensure that the rights of others are not tramped upon. Police officers are defenders of communities. They are not the enemy and police property belongs to all South Africans,” said the Minister.
With continued protests planned in these areas, Minister Mbalula said police have plans to maintain order.
The Minister praised the police for managing to recover some stolen property that had been looted by the protestors.
He strongly condemned the violent protests, saying damaging public and private property will not be tolerated.
This kind of behaviour, he said, detracts from the genuine grievances and tends to focus the attention on the criminal aspects of the protest.
While South Africans have a constitutional right to express their grievances through protest, Minister Mbalula reminded communities that rights come with responsibilities.
South Africa Today – South Africa News