Violence will not be tolerated, says Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 20, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated that the state has a duty and responsibility to protect people if they are threatened or facing violence.

Ramaphosa said while the law allowed for any group to march or protest, the same law allowed for the state to intervene if people felt threatened.

The president, who was writing in his weekly newsletter, did not refer to the EFF march on Monday, but his remarks were directed at the protest.

He said violence and anarchy could not be tolerated.

“The Constitution is clear that the state must ‘respect, protect, promote and fulfil’ all the freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights. Therefore, just as the state has a duty to uphold the right to peaceful protest, it has a responsibility to prevent any attempt to violate any of the other rights in the Constitution,” said Ramaphosa.

He said while the country was preparing to commemorate Human Rights Day on Tuesday, people must remember that the people who died in Sharpeville on March 21, 1960 laid down their lives for the freedom enjoyed today.

He said there were thousands other people who died in the Struggle for freedom and democracy, and the victories should not be taken lightly.

When the Constitution was crafted it ensured that there was a Bill of Rights.

The right to protest is guaranteed in the Constitution but that right did not trump other rights including violating the rights of others who did not want to protest, the president said.

“In fulfilment of its constitutional responsibility to protect the rights of all people, government will always have measures in place to ensure that everyone who wants to go to work, travel for leisure and conduct business can do so in a safe and secure environment. These measures include the deployment of our security personnel across the country to ensure that law is observed,” said Ramaphosa.

The government has deployed thousands of SANDF members.

It has made it clear that it does not want to be caught off guard.

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