Ramaphosa vows that criminality won’t be tolerated as violent protests erupt in parts of SA
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DURBAN - PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa said last night that the sporadic but increasingly violent protests in some parts of the country were endangering lives and damaging the government’s efforts to rebuild the economy.
He said the Constitution guaranteed everyone’s right to freely express themselves and to engage in peaceful protest, but there was no justification for violent and disruptive actions.
While he did not allude to the reasons for the protests, which appear to be linked to the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, he said: “While there are those who may be hurt and angry at this moment, there can never be any justification for such violent, destructive and disruptive actions.”
He added that it was concerning to all South Africans that some of these acts of violence were based on ethnic mobilisation.
“This must be condemned by all South Africans, at all costs, as we are a nation committed to non-racialism and non-tribalism, that is underpinned by the diversity and unity of all the people of South Africa, whatever their language, culture, religious beliefs and race.
“Our commitment to our democratic Constitution is based on the fundamental principle that all people are equal before the law, and that all people have the right to equal protection before the law. Let us be clear, as a nation, that we will not tolerate acts of criminality.
“The rule of law safeguards against the abuse of power. The rule of law protects the poor and the vulnerable,” he said.
Ramaphosa said those who were involved in acts of violence would be arrested and prosecuted, and those found guilty of breaking the lockdown regulations would also receive the stipulated penalty.
This would be done without fear or favour, he warned.
He also warned the public to think carefully before sharing anything, on social media or elsewhere, that may not be accurate or verified.
Ramaphosa said that he also condemned attempts to create confusion – through the sharing of false images and videos, often from events that had taken place many years ago.
Ramaphosa said the vast majority of the country’s citizens had shown that they wanted to live in peace and harmony.
“They want to work and earn a living. They want to see our country recover from this pandemic.
“We are working to rebuild our economy so that more jobs can be created, so that more businesses can be supported, and so we can put food on the table, send our children to school and support our families.
“We are building up, not shutting down,” he said.