The South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Ltd (SANRAL) today condemned the violent and destructive protests at the Mooi River toll plaza in the strongest terms.
“There is a right to protest, but that does not include the right to destroy public or other property, or endanger life and limb. Clearly the ugly protests at the Mooi River toll plaza over the long weekend violated this principle,” said SANRAL CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma.
“We strongly condemn such actions and call on law enforcement agencies to act decisively and see to it that those guilty of breaking the law are brought to book.
“This was not a matter in which the roads agency was directly involved, but it endangered the safety of those using the N3, damaged tourism prospects in the province and hurt the image of South Africa. No-one and nothing was gained from the protest.”
The agency would not speculate as to the cause of the violent action, but deplored the fact that protesters resorted to intimidation and destruction to make their point.
“The violence that often times characterises demonstrations and protests is deplorable and can never be justified. There are other ways to settle disputes, and we ask that those involved find each other to resolve the outstanding issues.”
Macozoma regretted the negative impact and inconvenience the violent incidents had on those travelling through the toll plaza.
He called on all South Africans to heed the call made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Port Elizabeth during a workers’ day rally this week: “Let us exercise our right to protest in a way that is going to make sure that one, will look after the vulnerable, two, that will look after the assets of our nation.”