Western Cape police have warned that destruction of property and looting during marches to the South African Parliament planned for Monday and Tuesday will not be tolerated.
Several marches have been planned in the City of Cape Town over the next two days to coincide with a debate and vote on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said on Sunday that the SAPS in the Western Cape together with all enforcement agencies in Cape Town were operationally preparing for approved planned marches to Parliament on the two days.
“Road closures in and around the CBD will be made available by the City of Cape Town’s traffic services. Business owners are advised to exercise discretion in relation to operating hours on the days in question. March organisers and participants are urged to conduct themselves within the parameters of the law.
“As law enforcement agencies within the ProvJOINTS, we recognise citizens’ right to protest. However, the right to protest comes with responsibility. Destruction of property‚ looting and other unlawful conduct will not be tolerated‚”Potelwa said.
Despite fears of violence, at least 30‚000 protestors from more than 30 civil society groups‚ faith based movements and political parties, are expected to take to the streets of the Cape Town CBD ahead of Tuesday’s vote. Three groups – which applied for up to 10‚000 participants each – have been approved by the City of Cape Town over Monday and Tuesday.
#UniteBehind coalition will march from Keizersgracht Street to Parliament on Monday‚ where the group will be addressed by former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
On Tuesday‚ two more marches are expected take place that have the potential for violent clashes. The Multi-Party Notice‚ made up of opposition parties including the EFF and DA‚ and the ANC Dullah Omar Region both received permits for marches of 10‚000 people each. And both will be marching to Parliament. It will equal the biggest protest ever approved by the city after the Muslim Judicial Council were granted permission for 20‚000 people in August 2014.
To show their support for President Jacob Zuma, the Western Cape’s African National Congress (ANC) will march from the Grand-Parade all the way to Parliament.
Tens of thousands of South Africans marched across the country earlier this year. The largely peaceful anti-Zuma protests organised by civil society groups, religious orders, unions and political parties took place in all of South Africa’s major cities and towns, on an unprecedented scale since the fight against apartheid during the 1980s.
The marches were sparked by the African National Congress (ANC) leader’s decision to reshuffle his cabinet late on March 30; an undertaking that involved the sacking of six ministers. Those fired included finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy.
City spokesperson Hayley van der Woude said that the South African Police Service is the lead agent with regard to special security arrangements on Tuesday‚ but that “the City’s enforcement agencies will play a supporting role if called upon to do so”.