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Officials say criminals 'hijacking service delivery protests'

The minister said on Thursday authorities had noticed a trend as demonstrations flaring up across the country ahead of next month’s general elections.

The security cluster briefed the media on 11 April 2019 on their readiness ahead of the 8 May general elections. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba says the security cluster has identified elements of criminality that are hijacking legitimate service delivery protests.

Letsatsi-Duba on Thursday said authorities had noticed a trend as demonstrations started flaring up across the country ahead of next month’s general elections.

Service delivery protests have flared up across the country ahead of the elections.

Letsatsi-Duba was not convinced legitimate concerns were behind these protests.

“We can’t allow shut downs. People have the right to protest [and] it’s in the constitution, but immediately when you shut down it’s something else and it borders around criminality,” she said.

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole said police had intelligence suggesting criminals were behind some of the unrest.

Authorities said they would keep a close eye on all protest hot spots to ensure voting goes smoothly on 8 May.

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