In South Africa there’s news of a service delivery protest every other week. Protests are known to get out of control, which is why they spark so much conversation between South Africans. Sometimes it works out and everything stays peaceful, focusing only on the goal of the protest. However, there are times when it blows out of control and the people just seem to lose the plot completely. Most of the time, I think it’s out of pure frustration. However, there is no excuse to start throwing rocks. The main question asked is why do protests get out of control? Is there a way to protest in a safe and productive manner?
LIVE’s Kabelo gives you a Dummies Guide to Protesting, advising (future) protesters and the average person on just know how it should be done differently.
Holler at the metro police
Any community wanting to stage a protest must submit an application to its municipality’s Metro Police Head Department describing/detailing the date and time, terms and reasons for your protest. The application takes 14 days to be processed, allowing the municipality to allocate routes for protesters to use, and the right number of marshals to monitor the crowds. But be warned: word on the street is that the police can delay responding to applications. So apply early, and don’t let your frustrations get to you. You will have your day.
Meet with your clique
Hook up with your committee members one to two months prior to the protest. Use those meetings to check out the issues affecting the community (e.g. how many houses need electricity?) Meetings are usually held on a weekly basis by committees in most communities. So don’t sleep on it, attend to get the real 411.
Party vs. party
There’s always some hot head trying to stir things up at a protest, so don’t let yourself get in between Mr Macho and his political rivals. Rather stick with your clique, and take care which beret you wear.
Listen to the POPO
This may be the only time to click with the cops. Most protesters say demonstrations end up in chaos because of miscommunication between protesters and officials, and confusion about exactly which route you were authorised to use. Your protest will only be succesful if you listen to and follow orders to keep activities safe and sound. Avoid harm to yourselves, and steer clear from bad press.
The root of all protests
Lack of service delivery and heavy crime are the things that piss people off the most. People never just take out frustrations for nothing. Bear in mind that no issue will be solved immediately following one protest. It is wise to keep consulting with your fellow protesters. Be consistent in how you continue demonstrating, and don’t stop until leaders respond and matters are resolved. We live in a democratic society, so keep your protests peaceful and let voters make change.
Dont mess things up for yourselves. Follow the law, don’t go burning down schools or local libraries and harassing your municipal councillors. Like I said you will have your da, where all your issues are resolved.
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