Western Cape residents must maintain non-violence and not lose hope during ongoing unrest in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
This is the message conveyed by premier Alan Winde on Sunday in commemoration of Nelson Mandela Day.
The two provinces have been embroiled in violent protests and looting and destruction of infrastructure and businesses for more than a week. The demonstrations started in KwaZulu-Natal when supporters of former president Jacob Zuma called for his release from the Estcourt Correctional Centre, where he is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of a Constitutional Court order.
Winde expressed shock at the unrest and urged South Africans to recommit to the values embodied by former president Mandela and to take a stand against violence.
“I know this has been a difficult and stressful week for our country, and many people are anxious and unsure about what this means for South Africa. I urge you to not lose hope, to remain calm and to reject violence, so that we continue to move the Western Cape forward.
“In a time of crisis, such as we face now, it is worth remembering, as Nelson Mandela so powerfully represented, that we are stronger together, and that violence and hate will be no match for all the good that exists in our communities.
“There could therefore be no better moment for a Mandela Day to recommit ourselves to the values Madiba stood for, and to once again stand together to reject violence and hate and commit instead to peace and prosperity,” said Winde.
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) said on Sunday it had arrested 3,407 suspects on different charges. Of these, one suspect was granted bail and 1,122 are expected to appear in courts in Gauteng and KZN.
Natjoints also extended a warning to people who are buying stolen goods.
“A warning has also been issued to those who were not part of the looting spree but are buying stolen property from the looters: they will be arrested for being in possession of stolen property,” it said.