Protests in Makhanda and Nelson Mandela Bay condemned
25 May 2021 14:30
Eastern Cape Premier, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane, on Tuesday condemned, "in the strongest terms", Monday's violent blockade of the N2 highway near Makhanda, as well as Johnson Road in Missionvale, in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, by taxi operators, amid service delivery protests.
‘’While we all have the constitutionally guaranteed right to engage in peaceful protest, it cannot be that, we will allow for the destruction of both public and private property," says Premier Mabuyane.
‘’The disruption of normal daily activities, including the forceful closure of businesses and schools, in a country of laws such as ours, can never be tolerated’’, added the Premier.
Premier Mabuyane has directed the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Hon. Xolile Nqatha - MPL, to visit Makhanda in bid to resolve challenges in the Makana Local Municipality. MEC Nqatha is expected to visit Makhanda tomorrow, Wednesday the 26th of May 2021.
Premier Mabuyane has called for calm and for the protestors to allow for a process of dialogue between government and the community to take place.
ANC to blame for the protests - DA
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape said that the South African Police Service (SAPS) must immediately put boots on the ground to save residents from the total anarchy they are being subjected to.
"Violent protests are spreading across the province, which are stretching SAPS resources," said Bobby Stevenson, DA Shadow MEC for Safety and Security.
"[On Monday], taxi organizations began protesting against the lack of service delivery from the Makana Municipality. These protests ended with police firing tear gas and stun grenades.
"[On Tuesday], the protest action has doubled in intensity and have taken a very aggressive and violent approach. Even a municipal building was petrol bombed this morning!
"The responsibility of what is happening in Makhanda needs to be laid squarely at the doors of the ANC, both at local and provincial level. For years ANC councillors have failed to take any action to address the myriad of failed service delivery issues that plague the town, even after being instructed to do so by the courts!
"Provincial Government has also failed to intervene, opting to defend incompetent cadres, rather than address the pleas for help from residents."
Stevenson added that local businesses have been forced to close their doors, children are being prevented from attending school, municipal officials are being threatened and forcibly removed from municipal buildings, and the N2 near Makhanda has been closed to traffic.
"This town and its people are effectively being held hostage! Even the town’s water supply, already limited to every second day, has been further disrupted as protestors have threatened the very lives of municipal officials who should be switching the water on.
"The Democratic Alliance is calling on SAPS to deploy all available resources to Makhanda as a matter of urgency, to protect residents," he described.
"I also challenge Premier Mabuyane to take action against the ANC councillors who have allowed the complete degradation of the city that was entrusted into their care."