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Johannesburg - The SACP on Tuesday condemned violent protests at the Germiston Civic Centre in Ekurhuleni by a group claiming to be military veterans.
“Whilst the SACP fully understands and supports the legitimate demands of our ex-combatants, we condemn the use of violence against organs of the democratic state that were a product of selfless sacrifices by the gallant forces and martyrs of our entire liberation movement,” said SA Communist Party Gauteng spokesman Lucian Segami.
“The purpose of the protest was apparently to highlight and bring to the attention of the city the plight of ex-combatants,” Segami said.
On Monday, the Ekurhuleni municipality said a group of people calling themselves military veterans arrived at the Germiston Civic Centre.
Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesman Zweli Dlamini said around 100 people trashed and looted the centre, which accommodates the executive mayor, speaker, chief whip, staff and political parties.
They damaged furniture, fridges and computers and stole items.
Several staff members were injured in the unrest, and others had to receive counselling.
Around 60 people were arrested and charged with theft, vandalism, trespassing and assault. They would appear in court soon.
Dlamini did not believe the attackers were military veterans.
“We had a bunch of people masquerading as former MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe) members,” he said.
“Surprisingly, some of them were in their mid-20s. They were not even born during times of the struggle.”
He said it was not clear what the group wanted, as it did not communicate any demands to officials.
On Monday, the military veterans' department condemned the violent protests.
“We urgently call on those involved to immediately desist from violent action lest they face the full might of the law,” said director general Tsepe Motumi.
“Whilst military veterans, like any other citizens, have a right to peaceful protest, violent protests are totally unacceptable,” he said.
The SACP called on ex-combatants to use the existing platforms to channel their demands and concerns.