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25 Apr 2018, Cape Town: Government has appealed to workers and unions taking part in the planned marches by the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) to desist from violence and destruction of property.
“We call on all those participating in the marches across the various provinces to refrain from violence, destruction of property and intimidation. The rights of people who do not want to participate in the marches must be respected.
“When marches deviate from the intended cause and become characterised by violence, looting and civil disobedience, it is less likely to produce democratic progress,” said acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Director-General, Phumla Williams.
In addition to calls for peaceful protests, government has called for workers to work alongside law enforcement agencies.
“Government appeals to all unions and those participating in the march to allow the law enforcement agencies the space to work and safeguard properties in line with the Regulation of Gatherings Act, 1993.
“Law enforcement has a duty to protect and ensure the safety and security of all people in South Africa. The law enforcement agencies have a Constitutional obligation to protect and ensure all citizens are and feel safe in South Africa,” said Williams.
Participants have also been warned to steer clear of Parliament, as it is a national key point, and the highest law making arm of the State. The same sentiments should be applied to other areas across the country, where members plan to gather.
Williams said marches played a central role during the apartheid era and culminated into the transition from apartheid to democracy and they continue to play a role in ensuring the voices of people are heard in the democratic South Africa.
“The right to assemble and to protest in order to advance a particular cause is enshrined in the South African Constitution. However, it also equally caters for protestors to conduct themselves in a responsible manner.
Peaceful protests are quintessentially a characteristic of a strengthened democratic and progressive society,” said the acting DG.