Season of protest in full swing

2012-03-24 09:05

We guess Human Rights Week is a perfect week for the “Angry Nation” to start its season of protest. By our count, there were nine protests this week across two ­provinces.

If last year’s pattern is anything to go by, the number of protests will shoot up as winter tightens its grip.

What is driving the protests? Money. It’s too tight to mention and poor communities are buckling under the weight of unemployment, high electricity tariffs, rampant food price hikes and a local state that is largely inefficient. Theft is high.

Protests are getting extremely violent. This week witnessed necklacing, looting and arson.

Councillors catch flak because the ANC is fond of saying: It’s the first level of government. As we report this week, there is no correlation between what we pay council bosses and the level of service we get from them.

In fact, studies will show that councillor salaries and perks squeeze out the money available for “service delivery” – a catch-all phrase covering electricity provision, local public works and facilities such as clinics and
libraries, as well as halls and training facilities.

People perceive it not to work for them, which is why facilities are regularly torched – as are councillors’ houses.

In Ratanda on the eastern edges of Gauteng, the mayor was told “You must go!” It’ll be a winter of discontent unless ­councillors stop worrying about bling and start listening to people.


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