The current spate of service delivery protests plaguing Gauteng should come as no surprise ahead of the looming 2016 Local Government Elections.
Only six weeks into the new year and communities across Gauteng have begun protesting for resources in an effort to force politicians to address their service delivery demands.
The use of protests are a form of contestation for resources among communities and municipalities where service delivery is perceived to be too slow.
The common thread, despite the varying reasons during protests, is the demand for resources.
Protesting communities have become more resolute as protests last longer and have become more violent.
Discussions between community members with local and provincial leaders have proven futile, with local leaders being chased away by disgruntled communities. This is a clear indication that local and provincial leaders are no longer trusted.
The ANC government’s failure to meet previous election promises has seen communities threatening not to vote in the upcoming elections – unless their demands are met. It is a clear blackmail tactic to get political leaders to concede to demands. The manner in which political leaders respond to these demands will be crucial.
Dishing out a new round of promises whilst past promises have not been met will only undermine dissatisfied voters.
An honest forthright response is the only way to prevent future conflicts, and the temptation to make more pledges in order to gain votes must be resisted at all costs.
Hollow promises will always come back to haunt politicians, causing a repeat of the cycle of violent protests ahead of future elections.
Fred Nel MPL
DA Shadow MEC: Co-operative Governance
083 263 2427