Police are looking forward to an orderly march in Pretoria, Phahlane says
Police will be out in full force ahead of the national day of action march on Wednesday, to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Addressing the media ahead of the march‚ which is against President Jacob Zuma’s leadership‚ Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and acting national police commissioner‚ Lt-Gen Khomotso Phahlane‚ said it was all systems go to ensure that the protest was peaceful.
The march‚ led by opposition political parties and civil society organisations‚ including Save SA‚ was expected to draw thousands of people into the city — and would follow nationwide protests against Zuma last Friday.
Phahlane said the deployment of police officers had already begun. "It will scale up from [Wednesday]. The plan is already being actioned."
He said the police were looking forward to an orderly march‚ "like last week’s march. We call on all who participate to do so orderly".
He said police were informed that at least 10‚000 people were expected to take part in the march. Phahlane added that they would deal with the influx of people accordingly. "We will have adequate numbers and equipment deployed.
"To ensure law and order‚ and that the march is peaceful‚ we call on the organisers‚ to ensure that they have enough marshals in place to assist us. The success of tomorrow depends on all South Africans working together."
He warned that "those who try commit violence" would be "dealt with".
Police being deployed for the march‚ he said‚ "know what is expected of them‚ in terms of exercising restraint and stopping any violence or intimidation".
Phahlane also confirmed that police had made a number of arrests in connection with sporadic violence around last week’s protests against Zuma.
"There were a number of people who were arrested‚ particularly in KwaZulu-Natal." The arrests were related to sporadic incidents of violence and intimidation.
Mbalula added: "The message is simple. Violence will not be tolerated. The protesters have a right to march just as much as those who choose not to protest have a right to do so.
"The police are ready to deal with any lawlessness. We are not here to deter anyone or to stop anyone from having their voices heard‚ but we will ensure that peace prevails."
He urged everybody to respect the law. "It is that simple. Intimidation and violence will not be tolerated no matter from which quarter it comes from."