Arsonists must be tracked down and prosecuted - Solidarity

Fire station and City Hall in Bloemfontein destroyed by SAMWU protestors

Solidarity insists on arsonists being hauled over the coals

23 June 2017 

The Solidarity Movement insists that the arsonists and perpetrators of violence who damaged historical buildings, schools and businesses during protest action in Bloemfontein and Schweizer-Reneke should be prosecuted and punished.

According to Flip Buys, Chairperson of the Solidarity Movement, the prevailing culture is one of destruction. “The widespread tendency that protest actions result in violence and arson can no longer be tolerated. The SAPS must provide an explanation for its failure to take preventative action,” Buys emphasised.

This follows after buildings in Bloemfontein were set alight again this week when a modern fire station in Chris Hani Square and the historical City Hall were destroyed by fires caused by workers of the Mangaung Metro during strike action by the trade union Samwu. They also vandalised the BP Leinaeng Library. Earlier this month, Schweizer-Reneke was also devastated by fires set by striking workers.

Buys contends that the right to legal protest does not include the right to violence and destruction. “If the authorities do not take action, the Solidarity Movement would consider private prosecution and instituting claims against the guilty parties,” Buys said.

Solidarity is also demanding that claims for damages be brought against those involved to prevent innocent and hardworking taxpayers from having to foot the bill.

Buys also said that the root cause is that ANC controlled councils are governed badly and that the consequences arising from it are shifted to the Police and the courts. “The solution is that the ANC should change its outdated struggle political culture and adapt to modern times,” Buys added.

“The country is already in a crisis and violence and arson merely add more fuel to the fire,” Buys said.

Statement issued by Francois Redelinghuys, Spokesperson: Solidarity, 23 June 2017