Protesting communities must obey the law

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pretoria - The Portfolio Committee on Police says communities in Pretoria must act within the confines of the Constitution, and not take the law into their own hands.

“The committee understands and respects the right of people to raise their concerns with the relevant authorities, but such action must be in accordance with the laws of the country,” said committee chairperson Francois Beukman.

This as protests played out in Pretoria on Friday in what organisers had been calling a march against crime in the city. However, looting and destruction of property marred the day.

Beukman said some of the scenes unfolding in Pretoria appear to be breaching the laws of the country. He called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to “rescue the situation”.

“It is the constitutional duty of the South African Police Service to protect and secure the inhabitants of South Africa and their property. As such, the committee will support the necessary steps the SAPS will undertake to maintain law and order,” Beukman said.

The committee also calls on the SAPS to ensure the safety of all inhabitants and take strong action against criminal elements found to be breaking the law.

To this end, the committee says it will support the deployment of additional resources to ensure that stability is achieved. 

Beukman said there is a heavy duty on community leaders and communities to work with the police to deal with criminality in their communities and avoid the situation from spiralling out of control. 

“The Constitution places an obligation on all South Africans to respect and live in harmony with all communities, whether they are foreign or local,” he said. –