Pretoria: Government has condemned the use of children during protests, saying it puts their education opportunities in jeopardy.
This after a group of teenagers allegedly led a group of protesters, who wanted to burn down a police station as well as other municipal offices in Bronkhorstspruit, near Pretoria.
The community, which was protesting because they were unable to buy pre-paid electricity, set alight several buildings, including a clinic and a library.
Acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) CEO Phumla Williams says this is a violation of fundamental human rights that may hinder children’s development, potentially leading to lifelong psychological damage.
“We therefore, urge parents who involve children in destroying public property and committing violence during protests to refrain from such behaviour,” said Williams.
Williams reiterated that while citizens have a constitutional right to protest if they are not certified, those rights also came with responsibilities.
“Whilst every citizen has the constitutional right to protest, it is unacceptable when property and valuable public infrastructure are destroyed during protests,” said Williams.
Government has reiterated a call by President Jacob Zuma for restraint during protests and urges communities to be vigilant in countering all forms of protest that deny children their rights.