She says our society has a right to voice out its grievances but not through means that end up being criminal actions.
Safety and security MEC Gabisile Shabalala has called on Mpumalanga protesters to adhere to the law, to not resort to violence when voicing themselves out through protest.
“We are not against people raising their concerns about services, but we are opposed to criminality and the destruction of property,” she said.
She said the right to raise concerns becomes a problem when other people’s lives are threatened or they are “deprived of their rights to move freely”.
Shabalala speaks while Mpumalanga is hard-hit by two violent protests this week – one on the R532 Road between Graskop and Matibidi and another yesterday on the R40 Road near Msholozi – where roads were blockaded with rocks, burning tyres and logs.
The residents are demanding service delivery and job opportunities for the youth.
Shabalala said the two protests “had elements of violence” as people’s rights to move freely across the area were violated.
“There are children who must go to school, there are essential service workers who must provide services to the community at large, there are sick people who might need go to hospitals and there are those who must also go to work.
“If you close the roads, these people are deprived of their rights, and it is criminality,” the MEC said.
Shabalala said the police’s job is to fight crime.
“If we divert all the resources that we have for fighting crime to service delivery protests, we may end up losing the fight against crime,” she said.
(edited by ZK)