Police must act against protestors threatening lives and destroying property

Issued by Marshall von Buchenroder, MPL
Shadow MEC for Transport

The South African Police Service must take immediate action to safeguard the lives and property of residents and businesses making use of the roads linking Gqeberha to Kariega.

It is simply unacceptable that police have stood by watching the destruction of property, as protestors burn out trucks and busses and damage road infrastructure on the R75 and the R335.

I challenge the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, to take immediate action and ensure that the necessary resources are deployed to bring stability back to the area and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.

The actions of individuals, reportedly spurred on by the Ibhayi Workers Forum, who are demanding an office at the Coega Development Corporation recruitment centre, should be condemned in the strongest terms.

The Democratic Alliances recognises individual’s rights to protest, but the actions of these individuals are placing the lives of innocent people at risk and is severely hampering the ability of residents to go about their day-to-day business and earn a living.

This has been further exacerbated by the police’s inaction to date. It has become abundantly clear that the top structures would rather continue petty infighting and persecution of senior officials, than address the real issues at hand.

Rather than seeking trumped-up charges against Humewood station commander Brigadier Leonie Bentley, Gelvandale station commander Brigadier Lawrence Soekoe and Brigadier Ronald Koll, the top management should be directing their attention to dealing with real crime on the ground.

These are three of the most senior officials in the Metro, but their attention is being redirected to deal with internal squabbles, rather than focusing on dealing with the crime on the streets.

What is needed is real stability and experience within the SAPS leadership in the city.

It is simply unacceptable that the Public Order Policing units are standing on the sidelines and watch while these criminals get away with millions of rands of damage and place the lives of individuals at risk.

A capable state would ensure that people’s freedom of movement and protection from violence, as enshrined in the Constitution, is upheld.

The MEC must ensure that action is taken, that the leaders behind these attacks on residents are traced and face the full might of the law.

The Democratic Alliance will continue to fight for the safety of all people in the Eastern Cape, and that those guilty of breaking the law be brought to book.