By: Nomahlubi Jordaan‚ Petru Saal
The South African Police Service has urged protesters to abide by the law as Cosatu’s planned national strike against state capture gets under way.
“Protesters are reminded that while they have a right to protest or demonstrate‚ the rights of all in South Africa as well as the laws that govern such protests must be respected‚” said police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo.
“No criminality‚ including intimidation and any form of lawlessness will be tolerated. We are confident that this call will be adhered to‚” he said.
Those who did not follow “correct” procedures and the rule of law would be held to account‚ the police said.
“The Acting Chairperson of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints)‚ Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela wants to assure protestors as well as the South African people that measures have been put in place to ensure that people can exercise the democratic rights as they are enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa‚” Naidoo said.
According to the police‚ this structure has been mandated by Cabinet to plan‚ co-ordinate and implement all law enforcement‚ crime combating and other operations relating to safety‚ security and stability in South Africa.
“It involves various government departments and entities that play a vital role in the country’s safety and stability‚” said Naidoo.
“These enforcement agencies‚ led by the South African Police Service‚ will be deployed to ensure that public order is maintained during the protest march/demonstrations in all major cities as well as other identified areas throughout the country.”
Thousands of people are expected to take part in a national strike organised by Cosatu‚ which is demanding that President Jacob Zuma appoint a judicial commission of inquiry to probe state capture.
Cosatu‚ which has called on Zuma to resign‚ also wants the proceeds of state capture to be channelled to projects that fight poverty.
In Cape Town‚ Cosatu expects 15‚000 people to take to the streets of as part of the nationwide strike.
“The march would start at Keizersgracht Street and end at Parliament where the union would hand over a list of demands ‚ said Cosatu regional secretary Tony Ehrenreich.
However‚ the Cape Chamber of Commerce has said that the mass protest action will not make much of a difference in the country’s state of affairs.
“Although we support freedom of expression‚ we don’t believe that mass strike action is the best way to effect the real change we need‚” said President of the Cape Chamber‚ Janine Myburgh.
“A strike is disruptive and damaging to an already fragile economy and puts further strain on the low rate of employment. It is the working class who suffer in a national strike as many may lose their day’s wages. Those are the people we should protect the most‚” she said.
Source: TMG Digital.