Bapela urges protesters not to destroy property

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thohoyandou - Deputy Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Obed Bapela, has called on community members to refrain from destroying government-owned property.

"People have a right to voice their concerns, but it has to be within the law," he said, referring to recent service delivery protests in which people destroyed state property.

Bapela was speaking at an information session organised by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in the Vhembe District in Limpopo earlier today.

During the session, Bapela spoke to residents about the plans that President Jacob Zuma outlined in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in February and gave community members a chance to ask questions about government's programmes.

He said while government was facing challenges, it was doing everything in its power to improve the lives of the people.

"Each day government focuses on ensuring a better life for all South Africans," said Bapela.

The Deputy Minister called on the organisers of protests to speak to their communities and urge them not to destroy property during the protests.

"Don't destroy or burn schools and libraries."

Bapela admitted that some of the protests were about fundamental issues such as a lack of water, electricity and infrastructure.

The Deputy Minister further urged residents to pay their electricity and water bills. "For municipalities to render effective service delivery, people must pay for their services."

Responding to concerns about unemployment, Bapela said government was doing everything in its power to ensure that people were employed.

He said there were about 20 000 vacancies in government that must be filled. He also encouraged people to get creative and start their own small businesses.