Kimberley - Northern Cape Premier, Sylvia Lucas, on Thursday made it clear that “this government is not at war with its people we will not involve the army in our work to resolve the crisis in the Kuruman area”.

Lucas was responding to a call by the DA in the province that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) be deployed to the troubled villages around Kuruman, where more than 50 schools have been closed since June due to an ongoing community protest over a demand for roads in the area.

The DA’s leader in the province, Andrew Louw, urged Lucas to use the apartheid strategy of sending the army to troubled areas in the country.

“We did this during the apartheid era, why can’t we do it now,” he asked.

Louw said that the army’s job would be to stabilise the area so that the children could return to school.

Louw said that the mere presence of the army would drive fear into the hearts of the protesters who have closed the schools.

“It is unacceptable for the protesters to be handled with kid gloves while the children have to bear the brunt of what is happening in that area. The Premier must show true leadership and ask for the assistance of the SANDF to resolve this situation quicker. (In fact) in Lohatlha (near Postmasburg) there’s a South African Defence Force base camp,” he said.

Louw called on Lucas to resign if her administration was unable to resolve the situation in Kuruman.

“The government has treated the protesters with kid gloves it’s time that this changes. Although we appreciate that the government has been intervening to resolve the crisis, their efforts are not good enough.

“Lucas must resign if she cannot resolve the crisis in Kuruman,” he said.

Lucas, speaking through her spokesman, Mafu Davids, said that “the people of Kuruman are our people and we are working very hard with them to resolve the situation of the closure of the schools and to build roads in that area”.

“We are not an irresponsible government that will set the army on its people. They are our people,” Lucas added.

Davids said that the DA had no right to call for her to resign because she was elected by the people of the Northern Cape.

“The overwhelming majority of our people in this province voted for Lucas and her administration, therefore the DA can’t tell her to resign. She does not account to the DA but to the people of this Province, who elected her,” Davids added.

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