Zuma speaks out on service delivery protests

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma says municipalities should communicate with citizens at all times to reduce the level of frustration and anger among people who demand service delivery.

"When there is a delay, they should be informed. If there is water or electricity cuts, for whatever reason, they should be informed and told when this will be fixed," Zuma said on Wednesday.

He was speaking after being awarded the Freedom of the Makana Municipality award in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

However, the President said "no amount of frustration should justify violence and the destruction of property," adding that the recent attacks on councillors and their homes were shocking and not what should be seen in a democratic society

A recent victim of a violent protest is councillor Johannes Nemaungani, whose house was set on fire during a protest against prepaid electricity meters in Tshiawelo, Soweto, last week.

"While our Constitution allows protest action as part of the freedoms we fought for, the violence that sometimes accompanies the protest is unacceptable," Zuma said.

The President called on the people to support councillors in performing their tasks of serving communities.

Zuma said government has already started by providing training that enables them to understand their leadership role, training on legislation that guides local government, key municipal processes, developmental local government and service delivery.

This is in addition to the local government turnaround strategy, which, he said, was starting to work.

The President described the increase in clean audits from four to seven municipalities over the past months as a significant achievement.

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