Gauteng protests worry government

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Copy of ST p1secTzanene218.JPG (39645330) INLSA Police personnel remove material that was used to barricade one street in Kubjana village near Relela, Limpopo. Photo: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - The Gauteng provincial government is concerned about the rise in service delivery protests in the province, human settlements MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said on Friday.

“Our rapid response team and the department have recorded about 50 service delivery protests in Gauteng since last year,” she told journalists in Johannesburg.

“In terms of cost for the damage... for the department alone it's about R55 million.”

She said the figure could be higher for the municipalities where infrastructure was damaged.

The police might have a higher number of protests, but Mekgwe said in terms of service delivery it was 50.

The department condemned the violence and the destruction of property but recognise the right of people to protest.

Mekgwe said the solution to problems residents faced were constant engagement and facing “challenges head-on”.

“There are a number of avenues which are available to members of the community to raise their concerns.”

She urged residents to be responsible and not to stop children from going to school or sick people from gaining access to medicine or hospitals.

In the past week, residents of Sebokeng, a township south of Johannesburg, vowed never to vote for the ANC again, saying the ANC-led government had failed them.

“No ANC politicians are welcome here. They killed my brother like a dog,” said Paseka Rabolila whose brother was shot dead, allegedly by police, during the protests on Wednesday.

In Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, government officials attempted to do damage control on Thursday after residents went on the rampage this week, torching several buildings including a clinic, hall and library.

Mekgwe said the death of three people in the province - in Roodepoort, Bekkersdal, and Boitketlong - were too many.

“This loss was unnecessary and could have been avoided,” she said.

Sapa



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