SAPS must do job and protect citizens

YOU reported on the mayhem in Uitenhage, following what was apparently intended to be a peaceful march to the Town Hall to hand over a petition ("Councillors' homes torched in U'hage", February 6 2014).

The report indicates that a KwaLanga resident stating: "Criminals have joined in and are the ones causing all of this."

I have no idea who was responsible for the torching of homes, for the burning of tyres in the roads, for the looting of a truck or for the stoning of cars. What I do know is that every one of those acts is criminal.

The person(s) responsible for every such act of thuggery was surely seen, should surely have been arrested, and appropriately charged.

And yet your report states "The police condemned the violence". Warrant Officer Gerda Swart stated: "We will maintain a strong police presence in the area and bring the perpetrators to book."

It is not the mandate of SAPS to condemn violence. It is their mandate to protect us from violence and to take action when violence occurs.

The DA has stated before that protests are legitimate; criminal activity is not. The two are not synonymous. Criminal "elements" cannot continue to act with impunity. SAPS cannot "maintain a presence" and "condemn the violence". It must send out a very strong message that behaviour such as that seen in Uitenhage yesterday will not be tolerated and will, without exception, result in arrest.

Annette Lovemore, DA MP, Cape Town