Dear Plett Ratepayers,
Yesterday we had a 2 hour meeting with the new DA constituency leader of Bitou and DA councillors to express the deep concern of our community at the current situation.
As chairman, I expressed sharp criticism at the DA, both nationally and provincially. Criticism for the MEC of Local Government and his staff’s inability or unwillingness to place Bitou under administration, for not responding to our correspondence, as well as cooperation to provide various copies of forensic reports.
A further meeting of some 200 concerned business owners was held yesterday morning.
The meeting was made up of business owners and a few labourers. Intense anger was expressed at SAPS for standing idly by without arresting the organizers of the riots or known perpetrators that committed blatant acts of arson, stoning and looting in their presence. The lack of adequate Public Order Police (POPS), and the POPS on scene did not have anywhere near enough rubber bullets or teargas to disperse the crowds.
General Reddy has been advised of Plett’s concern, as was the MEC for Safety, with the request that a more powerful, better armed and well trained force be sent here for a longer period. The situation is very fluid. The intelligence we have is that there may be riots on Wednesday and a possibility of strikes in spite of our best efforts. There are threats to demolish long standing established businesses, including a march on the town itself.
At this point the leadership seems intent on that path.
More than that we cannot do. It is up to the authorities at Province to provide a force of police to protect this town and its people. The local police are not up to the task.
We now wait for a response.
We are doing all in our power to diffuse the current crisis. But we are entirely dependant on the powers that be to do their duty.