Minister condemns use of violence in protest action as a criminal act that the police will deal with
14 Jul 2009
The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, has condemned the incidents of violence and destruction to property which have accompanied service delivery protests in Diepsloot and other areas as very unfortunate, as the poorest are again going to be the worst affected when the state is forced to increase rates and taxes in order to replace the destroyed and damaged property.
"The economic climate is strangling all of us. These violent protests are taking place at a time when people are allowed to express themselves openly without fear of prosecution. The highest office in the land has opened a call centre for citizens to lodge their complaints if government is not responsive, so attacking people and destroying property is by all intents and purpose a simple act of criminality that is totally uncalled for," says Minister Shiceka.
Many factors have contributed to current service delivery challenges and include lack of capacity in municipalities, lack of effective communication between municipalities and communities they serve, as well as incidents of mismanagement, fraud and corruption in a number of municipalities.
"Communities have every right to bring their unhappiness about the state of affairs in municipalities to the attention of government, but that can be done peacefully and achieve better results. Violating the rights of others while making your voice heard, attacking people including members of the media who are doing their jobs to serve society and destroying homes and government buildings actually works against us all as society, more especially the most vulnerable," Minister Shiceka says.
The department has embarked on a process of investigating the state of municipalities in the country in terms of challenges that include the capacity of councillors and municipal officials to run local government efficiently, service delivery backlogs and their causes, as well as issues of mismanagement, fraud and corruption and their root causes.
A similar exercise was done in the North West province and it yielded very valuable information, so we will use that template to assess the state of local governance in the country. The department is also in the process of setting up a multi-media, multi-lingual contact centre to give communities a channel through-which to express their complaints, bring to government’s attention service delivery problems as they experience it at a community level and get answers quickly.
As Minister responsible for coordinating government's delivery to be better integrated, cohesive and coherent when it reaches communities, Minister Shiceka, remains sensitive to the unhappiness experienced by communities but also remains confident in the ability of the provincial government leadership to handle the issues and to approach national government when intervention from national government level is required.
Issued by: Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
14 July 2009
Source: Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Issued by: Department of Cooperative Governance
14 Jul 2009
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