South Africa will not tolerate violent protests, warns president Zuma
Special to USAfricaonline.com
Johannesburg – The South African government will not tolerate violent protests that have rocked poor townships, President Jacob Zuma said Tuesday while calling for service delivery to be beefed up. “Burning down libraries, torching people’s houses, and looting spaza (small) shops do not build a strong nation. It does not solve our legitimate problems,” Zuma told a meeting of 238 mayors in Cape Town’s Khayalitsha township.
South Africa has been hit by a series of service delivery riots since July in communities fed up with shoddy public service, with calls for Zuma to meet promises to speed up delivery and act against corrupt officials.
The protests have seen property set alight and roads barricaded in poor informal settlements where demands for access to water, electricity and housing have turned violent. “There is no cause in a democratic and free society, however legitimate, that justifies the wanton destruction of property and violence that we have witnessed,” Zuma said.
The government had made progress but faced significant backlogs in rolling out basic services, he told the meeting which follows mass meetings with the country’s police commissioners and school principals.
“It is clear that we need to do more, and that we need to do things differently,” he said.