Pietermaritzburg - The KwaZulu-Natal cabinet has called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of all the people who invaded the offices and held the KZN health department head hostage last week.
In a strongly worded statement issued after a provincial cabinet meeting on Wednesday, acting KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said a thorough investigation should be taken against anyone involved in the invasion which he said cabinet regards as criminal.
"There should be a thorough investigation on the role of some of the department officials who are alleged to have played a role in facilitating the invasion," said Zikalala.
He added that the investigation should also include the role of the security company hired to protect the Natalia government building where the incident occurred.
The decision to call for the swift arrest was taken following a lengthy discussion of a report that was presented to the cabinet sitting on the incident, involving members of the Federation for Radical Economic Transformation (FRET), a radical group that is also accused of disrupting work on construction sites
"This group is reported to have run amok within the department offices, violated security measures in place there, harassed and physically threatened officials within the Health Department and members of a team deployed by the Provincial Treasury to assist the department," said Zikalala.
FRET members are said to have demanded among other things:
-- That the HOD resign with immediate effect due to his alleged incompetence;
-- That the KZN Treasury intervention task team which is currently trying to fix the mess within the Department leave with immediate effect. This demand is based on their claim that Treasury is making matters worse;
-- That tenders must be advertised and must also be given exclusively to black South Africans and not to those classified as Indians; and
-- That a certain individual, who was unnamed, be reinstated to the Supply Chain Management (SCM) with immediate effect.
Cabinet members questioned why police did not act against the invasion, describing the act of invasion as anarchic and lawless.
The acting premier reiterated government's commitment to radical economic change, but stressed that everything should be done legally.
African News Agency (ANA)