The African National Congress(ANC)in the Eastern Cape would like to express its extreme shock on the burning down of two Amahlathi Municipality buildings and a clinic at Stutterheim yesterday (Tuesday 16 October 2018).
Our movement supports the constitutionally guaranteed right of people to protest and further supports the rights of citizens to organize and protest around their rights.
However, in exercising their civil and political right to protest people should not violate the rights of others, nor engage in the destruction of property and public infrastructure.Two wrongs do not make a right. This rogue behaviour is unacceptable ,unforgivable and hurts the very people who need these facilities most, the vulnerable.
The destruction of public property has a direct bearing on the provision of basic social services and ultimately on the enjoyment of socio-economic rights. The recent report by the AG indicates that many municipalities are already facing financial challenges. The destruction of public property further exacerbates the delivery of services as those resources could be used to give effect to socio-economic rights, such as housing, water, and education, among others.
In our view, no amount of anger or frustration for the demand of community service or municipality can cause a community to burn a municipal building and a health clinic . We find no connection between the two except criminals who hijack community demands for their narrow selfish personal interests.
We urge Amahlathi community to use all other peaceful means to advance their community demands.We would like to encourage all who exercise their right to protest to utilize lawful means, including seeking assistance from institutions established to support democracy, such as the Chapter 9 bodies.
We further urges organizations and individuals to attempt to address their concerns in a constructive manner, and not resort to destruction of public property, nor engage in activities that violate the rights of others or which hinder municipalities’ capacity to deliver on socio-economic rights.
South African Police Services must act swiftly and arrest all those behind this horrific act .
Issued by ANC Eastern Cape Communications
Media Liaison Officer
ANC EC Head of Communications