Applauded members of the SAPS for maintaining order in the city during the recent protests, under trying circumstances.
THE POLICE and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has come to the defence of the Provincial Commissioner of Police, Lieutenant-General Risimati Shivuri, who recently came under attack during city-wide protest action.
During what started off as protests against high electricity tariffs, escalated to calls for the removal of Shivuri, the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, the chief financial officer, Lydia Mahloko, and the municipal manager, Goolam Akharwaray.
Popcru’s provincial secretary, Boitumelo Pheleo, applauded members of the SAPS for maintaining order in the city during the recent protests, under trying circumstances.
“Under the leadership of Shivuri their diligent work has displayed the highest level of discipline, professionalism and restraint. The situation could have been much worse if we did not have such brave women and men in blue.”
He dismissed “the lies peddled” on social media where Shivuri and the SAPS were accused of being in cahoots with the ANC and Sol Plaatje Municipality.
“Those that are making such allegations must prove them. We believe such detractors want members of the SAPS not to perform their duties, where criminality was the order of the day.
“We saw the ugly face of the most backward behaviour and criminality through the destruction of private property, local businesses and community infrastructure.”
Pheleo pointed out that the “lies and preposterous statements” circulated on social media were aimed at discrediting Premier Sylvia Lucas, Shivuri and Matika.
“This has led to people being asked to resign based on such claims. This it a very dangerous thing. If people and public servants are forced to resign based on allegations, it removes the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
“The source of such claims on social media must be investigated and if found to be true the law must take its course. If not, those who made these defamatory statements must be taken to task.”
Pheleo added that while businesses and government departments were the biggest defaulters, where they owed about R500 million in rates and taxes, they faced no repercussions.
“Meanwhile our poor are without electricity while those who do make an effort to pay their accounts are forever subjected to endless payment arrangements.”
He claimed that politicians were using the plight of communities in the fight for affordable electricity prices to advance their own personal and political agendas.
“Popcru and Cosatu embarked on the same campaign against high electricity prices almost three years ago. We fully support the community because, in comparison to other municipalities, the price of electricity remains very high at Sol Plaatje.”
Pheleo appealed to public servants to take communities seriously.
“It is our view that the Sol Plaatje Municipality should have dealt with the issues raised by our people on high electricity prices a long time ago.
“We also appeal to the ANC to hold their deployees in government accountable. We cannot continue to govern with arrogance, deceit and along factional party political lines. Workers are being treated with disdain, harassed, victimised and intimidated.”