Pretoria – Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) as well as law enforcement agencies will be deployed to maintain law and order during the protest which will be held tomorrow.
“Government urges protestors to exercise their rights in accordance with the law without resorting to violence, criminality and damage to property,” Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said.
On Tuesday, Minister Mbalula and Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane addressed a media briefing on security related matters with regards to a march that will be held by some opposition parties in Pretoria on Wednesday.
“We call upon protest organisers to ensure that the protest action is peaceful and does not infringe on the rights of others. Intimidation of South Africans, who choose not to join the protest, will not be tolerated,” he said.
Minister Mbalula said many people died for the right to march and this right must never be exercised without observing the accompanying responsibilities.
“Many fought for a free, democratic South Africa, where the rule of law reigns supreme,” Minister Mbalula said.
Addressing questions on whether there would be a counter-march tomorrow, Phahlane said police were not aware of any such action planned for tomorrow.
“We take it that everyone will respect the rights of those participating… If any counter-march becomes a reality, we will do what we are supposed to do, since our policing is focused on legal marches.
“We call upon the conveners and those who are organising the march to deploy their marshals in numbers so that the situation does not get out of control,” Phahlane said.
He said the marchers will convene at Church Square and will proceed to the Union Buildings.
Minister Mbalula said no acts of violence will be tolerated at the march and police will deal with any form of violence.
He said he was pleased that during the protests held last week, no member of the SAPS acted in a manner that was contrary to the values and ethical standards of the police.
“The SAPS members were deployed in all protest areas and they executed our policing mandate, ensuring that all participants and bystanders were guaranteed a safe and secure environment in which they could express their rights,” Minister Mbalula said.
He condemned the sporadic incidents of violence that occurred last week.