Free Staters’ restraint welcomed

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Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela thanked residents for exercising restraint, discipline and ensuring the province remained peaceful as violent protests engulfed parts of the country.

“The peace loving people of Free State spoke in unison condemning violence and pledged to prevent any violence in our province,” the Free State Provincial Government said.

It added many organisations and ordinary people also condemned violence and warned lawlessness will not be allowed.

“Our people realise violence is self-defeating and brings about long term suffering for the majority. Jobs, desperately needed, will sadly be lost as a result of the events of the past few days.

“The right to peaceful protest remains a constitutional right for all South Africans. This is a right, won through many years of difficulty and strife. Many people paid the ultimate price for realisation of this sacrosanct right.

“We plead with all our people to exercise this right in a manner that promotes peace and stability in our communities,” the provincial government said.

During Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting, the provincial government received reports, including one from Free State law enforcement agencies.

The report was necessitated by the need for a comprehensive understanding regarding peace and stability in the province.

This as parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal experienced violence resulting in the deaths of civilians, looting of public and private property, destruction of infrastructure, as well as the suspension of essential services.

“We commend continued vigilance by our law enforcement agencies and urge people to continue to work closely with them.

“We commend the people of the province for continued adherence to the adjusted alert level four regulations, particularly observation of non-pharmaceutical interventions,” the provincial government said.