Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday condemned the violent service delivery protests the country has seen since he took office five years ago.
Responding to a parliamentary question on whether he had given personal attention to the service delivery protests and municipal revolt, Zuma said: “Addressing the volatile situation of protests, I have on numerous occasions called for restraint.
“Although the Constitution grants people the right to protest, this should be done within the ambit of the law, and in a peaceful manner,” said Zuma.
“I have also pointed out that the violent nature of community protests needed to be attended to. We need to address the citizens of this country on the culture of violence that was inherited from our apartheid past, that we have not been able to shake off up until now.”
He maintained that problems could not be solved through violence and anger.
Other than condemning violent protests, Zuma said service delivery to all citizens had been prioritised.
He said he had held meetings with mayors and municipal managers of Khayelitsha when he came into power in 2009.
“It was resolved that we need to assist municipalities and strengthen inter-governmental relations in order to improve the delivery of services to the people,” said Zuma in his written response to the National Assembly.
He said the department of public services and administration, and the National Treasury were embarking on initiatives to close the loopholes on supply chain management, officials doing business with the state and corruption.
Government also took a decision to establish a performance monitoring and evaluation department in the presidency.
“We further decided to go beyond receiving reports from departments and to undertake hands-on visits to assess the delivery on our five priorities and other programmes of government,” said Zuma.
He said there was a combination of factors that contributed to the actions of service delivery.
“Cabinet has at various times given attention to the issues of protests as well as addressing underlying matters of concern.”
In his lengthy written response, Zuma listed efforts by government to introduce initiatives aimed at wiping out service delivery backlogs.