Pretoria: The country’s law enforcement agencies will no longer tolerate violence, illegal gatherings or the carrying of dangerous weapons, particularly from those in the mining sector, government ministers have warned.
Government was concerned about the violence, threats and intimidation in the mining sector and would implement measures to curb the situation. Its chief focus was to restore stability and normality in the mining sector that appeared to be at stake, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Friday.
Briefing the media on behalf of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, Radebe said ministers responsible for the security of the country had met and reflected on the situation that was prevailing in the country.
The acts of violence and intimidation clearly undermined government efforts aimed at ensuring economic and security stability, he warned.
Government was also aware that if the current situation continued unabated, it would make it even harder to overcome the challenges of slow economic growth, high unemployment, poverty and inequality.
“Government will not tolerate these acts any further. Government has put measures in place to ensure that the current situation is brought under control,” Radebe said.
These measures include effectively dealing with the illegal gatherings, the carrying of dangers weapons, incitement, as well as threats of violence against anyone in the affected areas.
“Law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to arrest those who are found to have contravened legislations governing these acts… Government is making a clarion call to all South Africans to desist from these illegal acts and work with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that the situation is brought to normality,” Radebe said.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa did not rule out the possibility that more police officers would be deployed to troubled area.
“We will do everything possible in the Constitution to ensure that normalcy prevails in those areas. Whether in deploying more police or whatever, we will do everything to ensure peace prevails,” he stressed.
With regards to the economic impact of the recent events, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said that if the instability and the lack of production continued, the cost would be noted be in terms of the overall growth numbers.
South Africa’s current account deficit would also be affected as well as employment. He cautioned that activities that threatened to increase unemployment numbers in this country could not be allowed to continue.
“Everybody in South Africa has a responsibility to ensure that we boost the confidence in our economy and our country. What we say, what we do, the violent acts we engage in, the incitement… of violence, undermines confidence in the South African economy and if we undermine confidence, we undermine investment, both from South Africans and foreigners,” he added.
Talks with the mining industry were on-going, Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu said.
“We are engaging with the mining industry on a regular basis… All of us are … concerned [about] its impact on the economy, its impact on the workers so we will continue to engage in a way that will make sure we find stability very soon,” she added.