South Africa: MEC Albert Fritz Welcomes Engagement With National Commissioner Sitole On Land Invasions and Violent Protests

press release

Yesterday, the Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, held an engagement with the National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sitole, on the spate of violent protest action and land invasions in the province.

In attendance was Premier Alan Winde, the Minister of Human Settlements, Tertius Simmers, the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Bonginkosi Madikizela, Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, and other high-level SAPS and Departmental officials.

The meeting aimed to address:

SAPS resourcing of POPS units and the deployment of additional resources;

Procurement of resources for POPS units;

Protocol on the deployment of POPS units; and

Role of the SANDF in supporting SAPS in matters of public unrest.

Minister Fritz said, "Today's engagement was very constructive and conducted in the spirit of working together. There were many positive solutions put forward to tackle the spate of violent protest that we have seen in the province which focused on intelligence gathering, resource deployment and ensuring that those responsible for destabilisation are brought to book."

Minister Fritz added, "I commend the Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata on her sterling efforts in stabilising crime in the province. Under her watch, she has worked closely with all spheres of government to reduce the spate of violence and respond proactively. I look forward to working closer still with her office to address existing crime levels and ensuring that our responses to unrest are intelligence-driven and proportionate."

Minister Fritz continued, "In the spirit of working together, the Department has facilitated engagements between SAPS and the City of Cape Town, particularly during these periods of heightened unrest, to improve coordination in our operational response. I welcome this step as it will ensure that we are united in our fight against those who might wish to undermine the safety of residents in the province."

Premier Alan Winde said, "We thank SAPS for engaging with us on this very serious matter. These invasions and violent protests have a significant impact on our ability to deliver services to the residents of the Western Cape. We need co-operative and decisive action to ensure that we are able to identify the perpetrators and effectively manage unrest."

Minister of Human Settlements Tertius Simmers said, "It is critical that law and order prevail, as due to these invasions, land that has been earmarked for human settlement development must first be cleared of illegal invaders before anything can occur on it, and damaged units must first be repaired before beneficiaries can move in. The knock-on effect is that potential beneficiaries who have been on the housing waiting list for a very long time, now have to wait even longer."

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