Violence in Tshwane condemned

Pretoria - Government has called on residents of Tshwane to refrain from acts of vandalism and destruction of property.

Several buses and delivery vans have been set alight in areas of the capital city such as Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, as well as Atteridgeville.

Metro police officers on a routine patrol came under fire as protesters allegedly attacked their car with stones yesterday. The N1 at the Carousel Plaza, near Hammanskraal, is also closed on both ways this morning.

Provincial police say cases of murder, malicious damage to property and intimidation have been opened.

The protesters are allegedly residents who are opposed to the Tshwane ANC mayoral candidate Thoko Didiza.

Government says it condemns in the strongest terms the outbreak of violence and destruction of property. It has appealed for calm and the peaceful resolution of differences.

The acting Director General of Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Donald Liphoko, said: “There can be no issue which cannot be resolved through democratic processes and dialogue. Members of the public are encouraged to use channels available to raise their concerns.”

Liphoko said violence, damage to property and infringing on others’ rights and free movement will not be tolerated by law enforcement agencies. Perpetrators will face the full might of the law.

“Whilst all South Africans have the constitutional right to protest, government reiterates its condemnation of any form of violence and intimidation during protests and encourages continued dialogue to resolve differences,” said Liphoko.

Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa has also strongly condemned the violence. He called on the metro police to exercise their law enforcement responsibilities and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.

Gauteng police are also condemning the criminality involved in the protests. Provincial Commissioner General Deliwe De Lange said anyone found committing crime will be arrested immediately.

A joint operations centre to manage policing in Tshwane has been established. The centre consists of law enforcement stakeholders. All police members, including those on rest days, have been mobilised to assist in policing in Tshwane.