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Date: 17 May 2012
Title: Cabinet calls for more interaction with citizens
Pretoria - Cabinet has called on all public representatives to intensify their public participation visits to communities which are affected and non- affected by local protests to address issues and uplift some of the underlying dynamics.
This follows sporadic local protests that have taken place in recent weeks. The protests have taken place in communities in Limpopo, the North West and Mpumalanga, among others.
Spokesperson Jimmy Manyi on Thursday said that Cabinet had noted at its ordinary meeting this week that the protests are characterised by incidents of damage to property.
"Cabinet calls on all public representatives to intensify their public participation visits to affected and non-affected communities to address issues, and uplift some of the underlying dynamics," said Manyi.
He said Cabinet held a strong view that some of the local protests were legitimate, citing an example of a community which had an electricity black-out because the cables were stolen. However, he said there was no "blanket reason" for the local protests as the issues raised differed from one municipality to the other.
President Jacob Zuma, speaking at the New Age/SABC Business Briefing this morning, used the occasion to urge local government to help strengthen and expand the platforms for constructive two-way dialogue and interaction with citizens.
He noted that local government was the level of government that was the closest to the people.
"South Africa has witnessed a few local protests again, purportedly about issues ranging from poor or no service delivery, lack of jobs, activities of foreign nationals and alleged corruption of officials," he said.
He said that fact finding visits by ministers had revealed that the issues were much more complex and revolve around the deeply rooted and long standing grievances of the people.
"Government's position is clear. We respect the right of citizens to protest peacefully as enshrined in the Constitution. However, violent forms of protests that threaten lives and bring destruction to property are unacceptable and will be dealt with," the President reiterated.
He said government had policies and programmes to speed up the delivery of basic services in all communities. However, often, the plans, progress made and challenges were not frequently communicated to citizens at ward level, leaving them uninformed and vulnerable. - BuaNews