Gauteng Police Commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela has likened the first quarter of the year to a “season of discontent” with 556 protests, an escalation from the same period last year.
“During this time, we have witnessed the escalating number of protests against almost anything. A total of 556 protests were processed during the reporting period, of which 425 were peaceful, while 131 incidents involved riots.”
Mawela presented crime statistics for the fourth quarter das Fiscal year 2021/22 before the portfolio committee of the provincial community safety legislature.
He said high levels of discontent in “many sectors of our communities” required redistribution of already congested, more limited Resources from the police to policing protests and gatherings.
He gave some examples:
- University students, unhappy about mandatory vaccinations, took their anger to the streets
- Increasing anti-xenophobic sentiments which could easily have led to attacks on foreigners if not adequately mitigated and monitored
- brought worker strikes in the mining, food and related sectors also faced challenges, including almost daily protests against the delivery of community services to all congregations in the province.
He reported that in addition to overseeing protests during this period compared to the previous period, members to monitor 126 major events of medium risk, only 39 major events were classified as medium risk.
“This resulted in many major national events taking place in this province.”
Cable theft and Damage to vital infrastructure in Gauteng added even more policing challenges.
“The SAPS has a legal obligation to provide resources to police protests, regardless of their nature and circumstances.
“At the same time, we had to Do the same to provide resources for security and the successful hosting of major events to prevent and curb violent crime struggle, which have also increased during the “Season of Dissatisfaction”. This obviously takes advantage of many priorities for SAPS and its limited resources on the ground,” said Mawela.
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