OPINION

Constitutional rights must be protected – Mmusi Maimane

DA says Phahlane must ensure his officers protect and uphold the rights of peaceful marchers and arrest those who seek to undermine those rights

#MarchForChange: Constitutional rights must be protected

6 April 2017

Over the last few days, democratic rights have been undermined by the ANC and its affiliates who have threatened peaceful marches and gatherings with violence. These threats and actions must be rejected by all South Africans who believe in democracy and the rights enshrined in the Constitution. The rights to “assembly, demonstration, picket and petition”; “freedom of association” and; “political rights” are protected and are to be enjoyed by all South Africans.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will peacefully march for change in Johannesburg tomorrowand call upon the leadership and members of the ANC to respect the expression of our democratic rights. We will not be intimidated by a handful of anti-democratic thugs.

I have today spoken with the Acting National Police Commissioner, General Khomotso Phahlane, to assure him that the DA will conduct itself in a peaceful and democratic manner. Furthermore, I stressed upon him the need to ensure that his Officers on the ground protect and uphold the rights of peaceful marchers, and arrest those who seek to undermine those rights.

Tomorrow, South Africans will come together to protest our country being ruled by a clique that is determined to steal from the people and side step accountability.

We call upon all South Africans, regardless of political affiliation or persuasion to join this mass action for change, where will stand together and speak with one voice that says “Zuma must go and South Africa must come first!” We must never be afraid to speak out against those who unite behind corruption and poor leadership.

The rolling mass action by South Africans across the country is a clear sign of the groundswell for change and a call for national leadership that puts the country and people first, not greed and a self-interest.

Issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 6 April 2017