Cape Town: Unprovoked aggression from members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) towards tourism and hospitality workers peacefully protesting outside Parliament on 24 July 2020 cannot be allowed to stand without action being taken against those responsible.
“Tourism and hospitality workers are being asked to pay an incredibly heavy price during the COVID-19 pandemic so to see them being further abused by members of SAPS during legitimate and peaceful protests is abhorrent to all citizens.” said Cape Town Tourism Chairperson Brett Hendricks.
Hendricks said the actions of police, using water cannons and heavy-handed tactics against business owners and workers who are facing financial ruin during the COVID-19 lockdown, was unacceptable and must be addressed by leadership within SAPS.
“The hospitality and tourism sectors are the lifeblood of Cape Town’s economy and hundreds of thousands of jobs — people and families — hang in the balance. We value our strong working relationship with SAPS who have been our partners in everything from staging the soccer world cup in 2010, to ensuring visitor safety programmes so it’s vital that this issue and the safety of our stakeholders is addressed,” said Hendricks.
Hendricks added that Cape Town Tourism members frequently contribute both time and financial resources to SAPS and police stations across the city when called upon to do so.
“The police have a sworn duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society and right now no one can argue that doesn’t include tourism and hospitality workers. We would like to see SAPS acknowledge the importance of our longstanding relationship by taking accountability for their actions and making a commitment not to engage in violent behavior against peaceful and law abiding citizens.”