President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma Condemns Violent Protests In S. African Township
Police in the northern province of South Africa are conducting stop-and-search operations in an effort to quell violence.
Residents there have burned 19 schools in protest over municipal boundaries.
The country’s deputy minister of police says the looting and destruction of schools is being carried out by an organized group.
Our Southern Africa correspondent, Vauldi Carelse reports that seven suspects have been arrested.
The President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma has condemned “in strongest terms” violent protests over discontent regarding municipal demarcation in the Vhuwani township, Limpopo Province.
The entire nation “is in shock” over the violence, in which 17 schools and other public properties were burned down, Zuma said in Parliament while responding to the debate on the Presidency Budget Vote.
Zuma was speaking as arson attacks continued on Thursday for the fourth consecutive day in Vuwani.
Residents of Vuwani are reportedly protesting against a decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to incorporate the area under a newly merged municipality.
“There is no grievance that can justify the destruction of property, especially schools which are meant to help the next generation of Vhuwani to defeat poverty, inequality and unemployment,” Zuma said.
“Nobody should be allowed to jeopardise and destroy the future of our children and our country,” he stressed.
Zuma said the government has directed law enforcement agencies to apprehend those responsible and bring them to justice.
“It cannot continue that people engage in such criminal behaviour and we do nothing about it. Protests are permissible, but they should be undertaken peacefully,” said Zuma.
The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Minister of State Security who is also the acting Police Minister and the Deputy Minister of Police are in the area on Thursday to deal with the situation, according to Zuma.
Those who toy around with causing instability in the country will not be allowed to succeed, Zuma said.
“Let us not play around with the security of the state, our country and our people,” he added.
“We know that it is not all the people of Vuwani who are lawless,” said Zuma.
In this regard, a process to declare Vuwani as a Comprehensive Rural Development Programme site is at an advanced stage so that the peace-loving community members can obtain the development they need, according to Zuma.