Scenes of violence during the recent riots in KZN. Source: screenshot.
Scenes of violence during the recent riots in KZN. Source: screenshot.

During the recent violence, looting and riots which took place in KZN and Gauteng, and spilled over into some other areas, it did not go unnoticed that community and neighbourhood watch groups were largely responsible for citizen safety and security, and the protection of property.

It is so much so, that the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP, wrote a press release stating that businesses affected by the riots and looting should claim damages from the South African Police Service (SAPS) in line with section 3 of the Institution of Legal Proceedings Against Certain Organs of State, Act 40 of 2002, given that the police ultimately failed in their Constitutional mandate to protect businesses from the damage caused by looters.

Adv Breytenbach further added a letter of demand-template which can be used by the public to be sent to the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The statements by the premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala calling for stricter regulation of neighbourhood watches comes at a rather precarious time when the government’s draconian Firearms Control Amendment Bill may very well go into effect.

The bill removes self-defence as a reason to own a firearm. The petition against this very dangerous step can be found here.

DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cilliers Brink MP, released a statement saying that the DA rejects calls by the premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala this weekend calling for stricter regulation of neighbourhood watches.

Mr Brink stated “The Premier’s remarks show how out of touch he is with the situation in his own province. It also appears as if he wants to express sympathy with those who participated in the looting and violence that claimed hundreds of lives and devastated large parts of the KZN economy.”

Mr Brink correctly said that neighbourhood watches are not the problem in KZN or any other province, as they protect communities when the South African Police Service (SAPS) is missing in action. This was true during the recent riots and looting, and is sadly true in general over the course of many years.

“The inability of SAPS and other law enforcement agencies to protect lives and businesses was clear as day” added Brink.

This was obvious to all South Africans who are frankly sick and tired of anarchy, chaos and an inept government, itself looting the State.

Mr Brink correctly pointed out that the most critical point ignored by Premier Zikalala, is that neighbourhood watches are successful because they are not controlled by the ANC government.

This is true of all sectors.

It is well past the time for South Africans to stand up for freedom, liberty, democracy and the rule of law.

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