By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA-President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned residents against destruction of property, arson as well as looting when they are not happy with service delivery; instead, they must use their weapon by voting out corrupt leaders.
Ramaphosa said this when addressing residents of Botshabelo in Mangaung during the commemoration of Freedom day on April 27.
He reminded the residents of the rights that the Constitution affords them, such the right to assembly and the right to protest among others.
He, however, warned them against resorting to violent demonstration .
“By burning, looting and destruction of property, we are undermining the very course that we seek to advance .We are also undermining the democracy that our Constitution offers to all of us.
Voters must vote corrupt leaders out of power. Exercising our right to vote is by far the most powerful form of protest. If those who claim to serve you are not doing so, vote them out. Take them out because that is the one weapon that we all have; demonstrate to them that you do not approve of the way they are running things.”
He however acknowledged that over time, the democracy has grown and matured so too is our approach to excising this important right. “Let us be guided by our loyalty alone, and our loyalty should be to our country.”
Initially Freedom Day celebration was supposed to be held in Winburg, but due to the escalating protests the event was moved to Botshabelo. It is on the basis of this background that the President’s address touched mostly on discouraging violent protest.
He also promised to visit the troubled Winburg before the end of this year.
Freedom day was commemorated under the theme “The year of Charlotte Maxeke: the meaning of freedom under Covid-19.”
In line with this theme, the President together with the Premier of Free State Sefora Ntombela unveiled Charlotte Maxeke Treatment Centre in Botshabelo.
During the official opening of the event Ntombela described the reason that prompted their dedication to Charlotte Maxeke .
“Ladies and gentlemen, this year is correctly dedicated to trailblazer, struggle stalwart, public intellectual, political activist and human rights campaigner Mme Charlotte Maxeke, given the patriarchal nature of our society, and the prevalent violence against women and girls in our society. In honour of Mama Charlotte Maxeke, on this 150th anniversary of her birth, we are pleased that the President has officially opened this 40-bed capacity treatment facility, befittingly named after her.
She described the event as a symbolic measure in reassuring the South African society that government’s commitment to gender equality remains strong and resolute.