Police have arrested 831 people in relation to the student protests over fees at the country’s institutions of higher learning and training.
The charges included violence, intimidation and malicious damage to property.
SAPS acting National Commissioner General Kgomotso Phahlane, who briefed media in Pretoria on Friday on policing and security matters regarding the #FeesMustFall protests, attributed the high number of arrests to the violent nature of the protests.
A number of incidents have taken place which have involved unruly behaviour, criminality, the destruction of property and public violence, among other acts.
“When the protests began they were inside the campuses, but now they have gone on a rampage outside the universities and torching cars. This is evidence that the protests have been infiltrated by criminal behaviour,” Phahlane told the media on Friday.
He said with the protests continuing to be disruptive and violent, police will not be apologetic in executing their duties.
“The violence and criminal acts being committed on campuses have invited the presence of the police. The SAPS will not be apologetic in the execution of the mandate provided for in the Constitution.”
On Wednesday, a protest under the banner of #FeesMustFall was attended by over 2000 people in Cape Town.
The protest turned violent around the Parliament precinct with some in the crowd vandalising cars and breaking shop windows forcing police members to respond with stun grenades to disperse them.
Among the acts of criminality committed was an incident caught on camera of a young man breaking the window of a police vehicle.
Phahlane said a 33-year-old male was arrested at his place of work in Observatory today and will appear in court on Monday on a charge of malicious damage to property.
This suspect is a cleaner contracted by a university and is not a student.
In Braamfontein there have also been a number of incidents of arson, destruction of property and damage to vehicles. Two suspects were arrested in connection with a case of arson.
Wits University continued to be characterised by incidents of criminality, intimidation and attacks on law-abiding citizens, including the police officials, who were constantly on the receiving end from protestors.
Also, a tennis clubhouse was torched at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, a petrol bomb was thrown into the financial building at the CPUT campus in Bellville, while a man accused of burglary was stoned to death by students at the Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape.
A week ago, a march from Church Square in Pretoria, which had not been authorised, was allowed to continue as long as it was conducted in a peaceful manner.
“The SAPS ensured the policing of the march and monitored proceedings through the city to the Union Buildings. Unfortunately, after a memorandum was handed over at the Union Buildings, the protestors began pelting the police members present with rocks and stones. This unruly behaviour necessitated appropriate police action and the dispersal of protestors,” said Phahlane.
He emphasised that there is no room for police brutality.
The acting Commissioner invited people who feel that their rights have been violated by any police action or member to lay a complaint at the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) for investigation.
— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) October 26, 2016
The following two tabs change content below.