Service delivery protests are on the rise in the Eastern Cape and continue to contribute to an environment of chaos and disorder, with almost two protests taking place every day.
MEC of Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana, said in response to a parliamentary question, that 674 service delivery protests took place in the province between the 1st of April 2018 – 31st March 2019.
“This is a staggering increase of 158 additional protests that took place when compared to the 2017/18 financial year, which had 516 service delivery protests,” said Bobby Stevenson, the Democratic Alliance Shadow MEC for Safety and Security.
The Eastern Cape has had the third highest number of service delivery protests in the country for the 2018/19 financial year.
This climate of disorder and chaos, which results in roads being blockaded, schools being burnt down, cars being stoned, and municipal infrastructure trashed is counterproductive when it comes to creating conditions of safety and security as well as the right circumstances for business.
When roads are blockaded, trucks cannot deliver their goods to markets or to factories. This impacts negatively on the general economy and jobs. Our roads and highways cannot descend into no-go zones.
“SAPS need to throw the full might of the law against those engaged in destructive and unruly behavior. Law abiding citizens cannot be held to ransom by violent protesters,” said Stevenson.
It is evident that properly trained public order police units with effective crowd management skills are vital in order to prevent the further destruction of public property and to ensure that a climate of law and order is restored.
However, SAPS alone cannot become the frontline for service delivery failure, and imploding municipalities.
The general reasons for service delivery protests according to the response are electricity, housing, land and roads issues.
“The DA stands firmly on the side of law and order and the need for a well-trained and professional police service,” concluded Stevenson.