Premier of the Northern Cape,Dr Zamani Saul,on the Current Protests in the Country

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Over the past few days we have been noting with concern the acts of public violence and lawlessness on a level never seen in the history of our democracy. These criminal acts of looting of businesses and large scale damage to property have resulted in losses to business and even the loss of precious and also innocent lives. Many individuals, communities and businesses have lost everything they own and face irreparable damage.

As citizens we all have a responsibility to value human life and ensure that we engage each other on principles of respect, honesty and human dignity. Active, responsible and ethical citizens are the bedrock of any democracy and will ensure that we build the South Africa we want.

It is therefore heart-warming and we commend the collective and decisive refusal of members of communities in our Province to engage in looting, violence and criminal activities of any form. Their subsequent action of joining hands with community police forums, neighbourhood watch groups and the police has resulted in the prevention of violence and the protection of our infrastructure. This has been done through night watches and the creation of localised communication networks to identify and report possible outbreaks. This active citizenry and patriotism sets a good example.

We also welcome the call by the South African National Taxi Council in the Province to all its members and drivers to protect properties and not partake in any forms of violence and looting but instead to guard against losses to businesses.

We salute these citizens who work with the police to ensure that our country remains a lawful and peaceful destination. Our heartfelt gratitude is therefore extended to every community member, community volunteer, business owner, taxi association and others who have stepped forward to ensure that no form of looting or criminal activity of any form gets tolerated.

These patriotic and peace loving citizens; who united in support in order for law and order to prevail, are a true reflection of our character as a nation. Much as we applaud these efforts, we wish to remind these civil organisations that they are still expected to act within the confines of the law and at no stage should they take the law into their hands.

The police have taken a firm and proactive stance in preventing and monitoring the possible outbreak of instances of looting and violence. This has been coupled with an immediate, firm communication of the consequences of such action. To this end, the police have reacted with rapid response deployments where suspicious gatherings were reported.

Looting has dire consequences for our economy. Losses incurred elsewhere in the country already run into billions of rands. This will have a negative impact on our efforts to build our economy for the benefit of all our people.

We also call on members of the public to guard against creating unnecessary panic by sharing false or misleading stories about the acts of violence and destruction of property on social media. Communities are instead advised to speak to their ward councillors, community policing forums and their local police stations to report any suspicious activities.

Also remember that Covid-19 still presents a clear and present danger and we need to protect ourselves by wearing a mask, keeping social distance and washing or sanitising our hands. Our vaccine rollout programme in the Province is running smoothly with no service delivery interruptions. To date, the Province has a cumulative total of 78 654 people vaccinated, since the start of the vaccination programme in February this year. This includes the Sisonke Access Programme (for Health Care Workers/Phase I), Phase II of Pfizer and staff of the Department of Basic Education.

Let us continue to remain calm, exercise restraint and resist any attempts to incite violence, create panic or fuel divisions.

Media Enquiries
Ms Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams
Spokesperson to the Premier
Issued by the Office of the Premier
15 July 2021

Northern Cape Office of the Premier
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