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Mbalula issues stern warning to violent protesters

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has warned protesters not to damage property during demonstrations because he doesn’t want to see a repeat of the Marikana massacre.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula arriving at the welcoming parade at the SAPS training college in Pretoria West. Picture: Twitter/@SAPoliceService.

PRETORIA - New Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has warned protesters not to damage property during demonstrations because he doesn’t want to see a repeat of the Marikana massacre.

Mbalula was speaking at a welcoming parade at the South African Police Service (SAPS) training college in Pretoria west on Tuesday.

The police shot dead 34 protesting mineworkers near the Rustenburg mine in 2012, the Farlam Commission made numerous adverse findings against the police for their conduct in the incident.

Mbalula says the right to protest has its limitations.

“And those who embark on violent protests must stop. If they don’t, we’ll stop them because the Constitution doesn’t say we must stop people who are protesting.”

But he then issued a veiled threat.

“We must educate our people because I don’t want another Marikana here where police opened fire and people died. People must understand that protesting doesn’t mean to destroy property of the democratic state.”

Mbalula later clarified that he is not urging the police to act inconsistently with the Constitution, but to simply enforce the law.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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