Mass action in Setsoto Local Municipality (Photo: Independent newspapers)

IMATU has learned with shock and disgust about the death of a member of the public, Mr Andries Tetane in the demonstrations against service delivery in Ficksburg. 

“We, at all stages condemn incidents where violence forms part of public protests but equally expect the guardians of law and order to act with the utmost care where people’s emotions get the better of them”, says the General Secretary of IMATU, Mr Johan Koen.  

IMATU’s local branch chairperson Willem de Klerk described the mood in the Setsoto local municipality as “extremely tense” on Friday.

“Shots can be heard and smoke billows from the buildings which were set alight earlier this morning. The administration of the municipality has come to a standstill, they set alight the diesel depot and some of the municipal vehicles”, reported de Klerk to IMATU’s National Office.

IMATU demanded the security of our members form the Municipal Manager, Mr Bafana Mthembu, who replied that “no employer can do that”.

IMATU advised our members to assess the situation carefully before they enter any municipal premises and to be aware of police operations at all times.

IMATU also echoes the commentary of the Institute of Security Studies’ Mr Johan Burger who advised us that “it was the South African police’s role to maintain public order and protect law-abiding and disciplined citizens and to refrain from using excessive force”. His reaction to IMATU’s questions about the police’s conduct in a civil matter was “shocking”.

IMATU supports the advice of Mr Burger that the police should be seen to act with constraint in protection of the public, our members and property of the municipality.

IMATU reserve our rights to advise our members of the implications of a drastic change in working conditions by the intended integration of Metropolitan Police to the South African Police Service, against the backdrop of the alleged killing of a civilian by members of the South African Police Service.

“We call on those involved in marches to remain disciplined and to refrain from provoking or insulting the police. We all have a duty to the community and the municipality’s employees to curb our emotions a little more than a month before municipal elections”, says IMATU’s Johan Koen.