21 January 2014

South Africa: ANC NWC Condemns Police Action in Brits

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Service delivery protest (file photo).

Johannesburg — The ANC's national working committee on Tuesday condemned the police action which resulted in the deaths of four people during a protest over access to water in Mothutlung near Brits.

"It is our held view that the actions of the police, in whatever situation, should not culminate in people losing their lives," secretary general Gwede Mantashe said in a statement.

The NWC held a meeting on Monday at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

It welcomed the investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) into the matter.

Last week, two protesters were shot dead, allegedly by police. Another man died after falling out of a moving police vehicle in a bid to escape, according to police.

North West police on Monday said a fourth man had died.

The man was reportedly shot in the head and taken to Ga-Rankuwa hospital where the bullet was removed. He died in hospital on Sunday.

Mantashe said the NWC acknowledged that people had a right to protest but they did not have a right to destroy public and private property while protesting. This did not add value to their grievance.

"The NWC has decried the prevalent violent protests, which have become a norm in our democratic South Africa.

"We believe all South Africans, including organised labour and political formations, should come together to stem this tide," he said.

Mantashe said the NWC was convinced that had the final report by the ministerial task team on Madibeng, commissioned by former co-operative governance minister Richard Baloyi, been implemented the loss of life could have been averted.

The African National Congress would take action against the relevant people who had failed to do this.

"We will also want to ensure that the resultant instability and paralysis in the municipality which is caused by deep seated factionalism in the council and the administration is speedily addressed," said Mantashe.

The NWC has told the council and its leadership to implement the report with immediate effect.

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