We've heard your concerns - Cabinet

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pretoria - Cabinet has reassured communities protesting against lack of service delivery that government has plans to increase the capacity of local government to enable them to expedite service delivery.

This comes as the tense situation continues in Sharpeville and Orange Farm following violent community protests.

"... Cabinet wishes to re-assure communities throughout the country that we have heard your concerns," said Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane following a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

"Government has already declared 2010 as the year of action to deal with the most urgent needs of our communities."

Chabane said, at the meeting, President Jacob Zuma urged ministers to prioritise all areas that still lack basic services.

However, the minister said violent protests and general lawlessness cannot and will not be tolerated.

"Communities are urged to protest peacefully and within the framework of the law. "

Orange Farm residents took to the streets on Monday and Tuesday to protest against poor housing construction and lack of other basic amenities.

"There were no reports of violence this morning [Wednesday], but the situation remains tense and police are monitoring the area," Inspector Mzimkhulu Mthimkulu told BuaNews.

He said on Monday the community threw stones at police vans and burnt tyres on the Golden Highway, disrupting traffic flow.

Mthimkulu said police then fired rubber bullets and teargas before arresting 30 people for public violence.

He said the residents also chased foreign nationals out of their shops and looted their goods.

In Sharpeville, residents started their protest on Tuesday morning, burning tyres and barricading roads, Superintendent Nthabiseng Mazibuko told BuaNews.

Thirteen people were arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property, for allegedly throwing stones at a police vehicle during the protests.

Mazibuko said the situation had calmed down but was still tense following a meeting between residents and government officials at the local stadium yesterday.

"There were no violent incidents reported today but the situation is still very tense," she said.