By Thys Khiba
Bloemfontein – The Free State Premier Sefora Sisi Ntombela has thanked residents of Free State province for exercising restraint and discipline and ensuring that the province remained peaceful as violent protests engulfed parts of the country.
“The peace loving people of the Free State province spoke in unison in condemnation of the violence and pledged to prevent any violence in our beloved province,” the Free State Provincial Government said.
This follows their virtual meeting on the 14th of July 2021 to assess the continued work of the provincial government and to provide strategic leadership on a number of critical areas of governance.
The Free State Executive Council (EXCO) confirmed many organizations and ordinary people have strongly condemned the violence and correctly warned that lawlessness will not be allowed in the province.
“Our people realise that the violence is self-defeating and will only bring about long term suffering for the majority of our people,” Ntomela said.
The Free State Executive Council (EXCO) led by Ntombela, acknowledges that the right to a peaceful protest remains a constitutional right for all South Africans.
“We therefore wish to plead with all our people to exercise this right in a manner that promotes peace and stability in our communities,” Ntombela said.
In addition, the EXCO commended the continued ‘vigilance demonstrated by law enforcement agencies’ and urged all people to continue to work closely with them.
Reminding residents about the adjusted lockdown level 4 regulations, Ntombela, commended the continued vigilance demonstrated by law enforcement agencies and urge all people to continue to work closely with them (law enforcement agencies).
“We wish to reiterate that the pandemic is still with us. The 5 456 lives we have already lost to COVID-19 bear testimony to this sad reality and we must ensure that we protect ourselves as well as the other members of our society,” Ntombela said.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Alliance Political Council, represented by leaders of the African National Congress (ANC), South African Communist Party (SACP), Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU) and South African National Civic Association (SANCO) condemned what they call ‘acts of lawlessness,’ violence and looting happening in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The Alliance calls for continued respect of the rule of law,restraint and calm in the Free State province amid ongoing acts of public violence and looting.
This follows their Tuesday virtual meeting, on 13 July 2021. The meeting was held to reflect on the ongoing violence and looting taking place in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
“Our communities must unite, close ranks and never allow opportunists to use their grievances for their nefarious ends. To that end, the leadership agreed to meet urgently with organisations of civil society and business in order to work together in safeguarding and protecting the people and property,” the statement said.
Amongst other issues highlighted by the Alliance is that the community members must expose and denounce any attempts by opportunists who are accused of using genuine grievancesand challenges confronting them to ‘fan-up’ lawlessness.
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