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Protests 'could've been averted'

2009-10-19 19:14

Johannesburg - Recent protests against poor service delivery could have been averted had there been "serious" intervention, the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) said on Monday.

Spokesperson Tahir Sema said to achieve stability in South Africa, service delivery needed to be improved to meet the needs of the people. Serious intervention was needed to address the many problems facing the people, he said in a statement.

Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, and the Mpumalanga township of Sakhile saw violent protests in recent weeks with residents complaining of poor service delivery and demanding the resignation of senior municipal and government officials.

The union on Monday said it had been monitoring the development and performance of municipalities and found an increase in corruption in the provision of basic services and the awarding of tenders.

"Based on Samwu's analysis of the situation, municipalities have been consistent in outsourcing and privatisation of municipal basic services to individuals and friends.

Funding

"We have also noted the municipalities continued disregard of the voice of the workers and that of communities," the statement said.

Sema said municipalities needed adequate funding, which should go directly to municipalities and not provincial government, proper and meaningful consultation with communities, monitoring mechanisms, and infrastructural development.

The union said municipal workers faced many difficulties and wanted them addressed.

Some of these included lack of proper water and sanitation facilities, lack of training of ordinary workers, and the privatisation of basic services.

"Samwu commits itself to contribute to any proper and meaningful process that will ensure that service delivery is improved in South Africa."

The union said corruption was also adversely affecting service delivery.

"It is against this background that we believe that a lack of serious intervention is the chief cause of the recent community protests which could have been averted," Sema said.

SAPA