Workers take part in a march through Johannesburg CBD.
Workers take part in a march through Johannesburg CBD.

Criminals lurking amongst protesters

By Time of article published Jul 12, 2011

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Criminals are operating under the guise of service delivery protesters, the Gauteng department of community safety said on Tuesday.

“Criminal elements are involved with the planning of these protests...including undermining and attacking elected public representatives and their property,” it said in a statement.

This came after the department held talks with security clusters over violent protests that occurred in the province in the last few weeks. They agreed that firm action had be taken.

Although people had a constitutional right to gather government could not sit back when this right was being abused, the department said.

Last week Soweto residents were protesting against alleged higher electricity bills in their area when two houses, one belonging to a ward councillor, were set on fire. Five people were arrested.

The provincial government said it would not tolerate this behaviour and called on community organisations to defend public representatives.

“Those found responsible must also face the might of our criminal justice system in the province,” the department said.

This was necessary to ensure that protests were driven by genuine community concerns, it said. -

Sapa

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