Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula says at every protest there will always be a hand of criminality.
“Our approach is going to shift, because we must get the criminals and those who promote lawlessness. Genuine protest of our people gets infiltrated by criminals who use the opportunity to conduct themselves in criminal activity,” Mbalula said.
Mbalula was addressing officers of the SAPS and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department during his visit at Eldorado Park on Wednesday evening.
This follows two days of violent protest in the area.
Push police back
Gauteng police said on Tuesday evening that more than 50 people have been arrested in Eldorado Park and Kliptown over the last two days.
Residents from Eldorado Park and Freedom Park protested over the lack of housing and jobs on Monday. The protest turned violent; residents and police had running battles along the Golden Highway which runs through both suburbs.
If there is an issue of housing in the area, we will deliver, Mbalula said.
Protesters from the two suburbs joined forces as they attempted to push police back. They armed themselves with stones and petrol bombs.
Several shops and a BP garage in the area were looted.
“We will continue to emphasise that state property must not be damaged and big and most importantly small business enterprises must not be looted,” Mbalula said.
He said that some of the leaders of the protests in Eldorado Park and surrounds were well-known drug dealers and the protest seeks to undermine the rule of law in the country.
He had promised the community that law and order will prevail and that police would continue to protect those who exercise their right to protest.
“We are not going to take our foot off the pedal to get these criminals. They must know wherever they are and wherever they are sleeping tonight, we are coming after them. We are not going to allow criminals to undermine hard-fought democracy in South Africa”.
Mbalula also urged parents to keep their children away from violent protests, saying that they are used as “guinea pigs.
“They call for anarchy. People who are shot at are still very young and innocent. They get pushed to the front. Children as young as nine-years-old are caught throwing stones and bottles at the police. They don’t worry about the lives of children”.[Source: News24]