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There is no justification for burning public properties that are there to serve communities, says Thabile Mange.
Johannesburg - Our political leaders should be responsive and accessible to our communities all the time. After all, they are there to serve the masses. They shouldn’t wait for election time to be accessible to the communities. That sends the wrong message.
As we move closer to next year’s elections, community protests will be on the increase. As a matter of fact, they are already on the increase. Public properties such as libraries, clinics and police stations are set alight and destroyed.
Interestingly, these properties are there to serve the same communities. This shows that citizens don’t take pride in their own facilities and public properties.
How does burning a library down benefit a community? It doesn’t. It robs children of a proper place to study and read so they might increase their knowledge.
A certain community in the Northern Cape prevented kids from going to school because they wanted the municipality to build a road.
Kids didn’t go to school for more than six months. If this was a joke, we would be laughing. But using kids as a bargaining tool and denying them education just for a road is absurd.
There is no justification for burning public properties that are there to serve communities, no matter how angry and disgruntled the masses may be. As a matter of fact, it is criminal to destroy the very facilities that are there to benefit and service communities.
Do community leaders condone such acts? If they don’t, why do they let members run amok and destroy them?
Though they are not entirely to be blamed, these leaders are failing to show leadership on their part.
The increase in the number of protests has increased tension between the communities and the police. Because they are violent and destructive, police are forced to use rubber bullets to deter protesters from causing more damage. In the process, people get injured.
The fact that our police are not trained to control crowds makes things worse. Police act on their instincts. If they feel their lives are under threat, they shoot to save themselves. That’s the reality of the situation.
Protests are part of the democratic process. They enhance and strengthen our democracy. But in South Africa, we have developed a culture of violent and destructive protests. These kinds of protests are anti-progressive because they destroy our own facilities.
We cannot go on like this destroying our own public properties without a care. We need to start looking after our facilities and jealously guard them from being destroyed.
More importantly, we need to speak to each other as leaders and masses in order to find creative ways to resolve the civic issues frustrating our communities.
Kagiso, Mogale City