Gauteng to curb service delivery protests

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Soweto - The Gauteng provincial government has promised to intensify its work with municipalities to curb ongoing service delivery protests.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said government will engage communities regarding their grievances and other needs crucial to their lives.

The premier appealed for restraint and respect of the law during protests, saying only genuine grievances would be attended to.

"The assurance that we give our people is that if delivery has not happened in your area it will happen soon as it did in other areas where people waited patiently," she said on Tuesday.

Mokonyane was speaking during her service delivery monitoring visit to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in the wake of ongoing service delivery protests by residents countrywide.

Most of the protesters echoed the same concerns of unemployment, poor housing delivery, lack of clean water, electricity and the need for clinics and extra police resources.

She said government had already made the commitment to urgently attend to concerns of communities to reduce service delivery backlogs.

Mokonyane said the province had identified among others, lack of capacity, as causes of protests. This includes some dysfunctional governing structures.

She said she was not surprised by threats made by communities to intensify their protests during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"No one will choose a dull moment for a protest ... we've decided not be scared, but rather engage people to avoid drama."

The national government will in the next three weeks visit service delivery hotspots. After the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital visit, President Jacob Zuma will visit Madelakufa in Tembisa on 19 March.

Visits to other areas such as Siyathemba in Balfour, where a library was torched in a recent protest, are also planned.