Those that break the law must face consequences including service delivery protestors
OPINION - This week started like so many others, with protests around Durban.
Those who block the roads are generally asking for things that are reasonable: decent houses, clean water, electricity and sanitation.
They don’t have the means to make calls or send messages to register their complaints. Neither can they afford to get to the municipality’s offices.
So, they do what they can to grab the attention of those who can help them.
And, unfortunately, violence has become the most effective way of doing so.
This week protests in the Reservoir Hills area saw a municipal bus and privately owned car set alight.
Other vehicles were stoned, stores were looted and residents intimidated. It’s become part of normal living in South Africa.
We saw it in the Free State town of Senekal, where angry farmers set a police vehicle on fire during the appearance of two suspects linked to the death of a farm manager.
In response to what the farmers did, Julius Malema and Nazier Paulsen, a fellow EFF MP, posted a picture of a machine gun with a caption that said: “Get ready”.
This is the same EFF that only recently used violence to shut down Clicks stores. It is a tactic that, over the years, has been favoured. The latest is Visvin Reddy’s political party, African Democratic Change. They have threatened to forcibly shut down Cell C over a labour dispute.
But things are changing. There are consequences for those who do wrong. We saw it this week in the arrest of Bonang Mgwenya, a high-ranking officer in the police. It follows a string of arrests involving senior policemen and women.
It is now up to the courts to ensure those who break the law are punished.
It includes those who were arrested for the violence in the Reservoir Hills area.