Mpumalanga safety authorities insist that criminals who hijack protests must be arrested

The Mpumalanga MEC Gabisile Shabalala has insisted that criminals who hijacking protests must be arrested

Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Gabisile Shabalala has called on the police to arrest criminals who disguise themselves as protests leaders while causing chaos in communities.

MEC Shabalala further stated that all learners in and around Barberton should immediately return to school so that teaching and learning can immediately resume at all affected schools.

She has encouraged the police to spur no effort to ensure that law and order are restored in Barberton and anywhere else where protests have been reported.

“We are appealing to communities to distance themselves from criminal elements and instead work with the police to ensure that such individuals are brought to book.”

“We cannot afford to allow individuals who thrive on chaos to destroy our communities. The police must arrest perpetrators of crime,” Shabalala said.

The MEC had earlier visited the areas which were gutted including the Emjindini Community which was torched last night.

She was also briefed about the police’s efforts to deal with unrest in the area.

Over 40 people have been arrested so far around Barberton since the outbreak of violent protests a few weeks ago.

Others were taken in for various offenses that were committed elsewhere.

She has condemned the destruction of properties and road closures.

Shabalala has called on communities to respect the process that is underway concerning service delivery and other issues that they have raised.

She once reminded communities that they are within their rights to protest but they should do that within the ambit of the law while also respecting other people’s rights.