Concern at form and content of pagad protest

Concern at form and content of pagad protest

4 November 1996

The ANC Western Cape is deeply concerned at the violence and loss of life which occurred during the protest at the Waterfront yesterday. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Mr Najaar who died during the protest. We also trust that those members of the SAPS who were injured are well on the way to recovery.

We call for an urgent investigation into the events which led to Mr Najaar`s death as well as the damage caused to person`s and property.

The ANC is on record as saying that the current mobilisation against drugs and gangsterism emerges from a genuine concern across all communities at the level of crime and the effect of drugs on our communities.

We are convinced that the vast majority of those who joined PAGAD initially want to find solutions together with government and do so in a way which builds unity across all communities.

A number of recent demonstrations organised by a particular faction within PAGAD are not assisting in the fight against crime. Yesterday`s demonstration at the Waterfront is a case in point. We support actions which take place in terms of the law. Clearly these bounds were exceeded yesterday and with disasterous consequences. These events serve only to alienate the vast majority of people who want to do something about crime. We cannot afford a repeat performance.

The anti-olympic bid slogans shouted at Minister Steve Tshwete and Ngconde Balfour raise serious questions about the motivation of those involved and confirms our view that there are elements within PAGAD who would want to turn genuine and popular sentiment against crime into an anti-central government campaign. This amounts to nothing other than opportunism. What makes it worse is that a genuine cause becomes discredited and lives are endangered in the process.

The ANC calls on all communities to build the community police forums and become active at street and neighborhood level in the fight against crime.

Issued by:
ANC DIP Western Cape

Further comment from Cameron Dugmore, Head of DIP at 4184616 code 7131