Tens of thousands of South Africans from 352 communities handed over memorandums to police stations across South Africa yesterday. The day of protest against crime was organized by the Solidarity Movement, comprising Solidarity, AfriForum and Helping Hand. According to Solidarity, this has been the most memorandums ever handed over in one single day in South Africa. It was also the biggest protest action against crime ever held in the country. About 1500 people gathered in Pretoria, and 27 memorandums were handed to police stations in the city.
In the Western Cape, 75 memorandums were handed over in towns such as Bellville, Beaufort West, Hermanus, Franschhoek and Montagu. In the greater Johannesburg region alone, 42 memorandums were handed over, 26 in KwaZulu-Natal, 22 in the Free State and 55 in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Gatherings were held in Secunda, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom, Margate and Rustenburg, among others.
The memorandums handed over were addressed to the government, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and businesses. In the memorandums, a demand is made for, among other things, private expenses relating to crime prevention to be tax deductible in future.
"As a result of the government's inability to protect its citizens, people are forced to incur expenses to protect themselves. They, in effect, pay double taxation. It is therefore only fair that expenses incurred for private security should be tax deductible," said Dirk Hermann, deputy general secretary of Solidarity.
The memorandum also calls on the government to provide more resources, with a focus on training, to the SAPS. Further, an appeal is made to the SAPS to, among other things, lift the moratorium on the appointment of reservists in practice. The memorandum also calls on businesses to assist communities with crime prevention campaigns.
Pupils of schools in Linden, Roodepoort, Pretoria, Hartbeespoort and various towns in northern KwaZulu-Natal wore red t-shirts or red ribbons to school today in support of the protest against crime. Several small and medium businesses also closed between 13:00 and 14:00 to show their support for the protest action.
"We decided to form hundreds of small groups in communities to hand over memorandums instead of holding a few large gatherings. Crime not only affects a handful of large cities. It affects every small community. We decided that an anti-crime protest should be held everywhere where there is crime and that is in all communities across South Africa."
"South Africa may never allow crime to become a normal part of society. To show that crime is abnormal, we must protest against it. However, we not only protested. Through the protest action, we want to mobilise communities to get involved in community safety actions in cooperation with the SAPS. If we succeed in doing this, South Africa will be a safer place after 19 May," Hermann said.
Statement issued by Dirk Hermann, Deputy General Secretary: Solidarity, May 19 2010 – Source: www.politicsweb.co.za
This article (were more photographs can be viewed) is also available in Afrikaans on www.solidariteit-blog.co.za
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