Cabinet reads riot act on violent protests

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pretoria - Cabinet has condemned violent service delivery protests and called on communities to behave responsibly as the latest wave hit Mamelodi in Pretoria this week.

This year has seen renewed protests in Balfour in Mpumalanga and Orange Farm, Boipatong, Sebokeng and Sharpeville in Gauteng. All protests were characterised by looting, vandalism and arson.

Unemployment, poor housing delivery, lack of clean water, electricity and the need for clinics and extra police resources were cited in all these protests.

Briefing the media on Thursday following Cabinet's regular fortnightly meeting, government spokesperson Themba Maseko, said government accepts that the protests are a symptom of accumulated discontent about a range of issues pertaining to the delivery of basic services.

Maseko said while communities have the right to express their grievances, he urged them to act responsibly and not infringe on the rights of others,

"Many of these issues raised during these protests are already receiving attention at the highest level in government," he said.

Maseko said no one has the right to attack others, destroy public and private property or to embark on any criminal activity in the name of service delivery protests, adding that the destructive nature of some of the protests is unacceptable.

"We remain committed to addressing issues of service delivery through the implementation of the Local Government Turnaround Strategy, whose primary objective is to ensure that local government is strengthened to urgently attend to the service delivery concerns of all communities," he said.