Minister: Ratepayers must help
Cape Town - Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka has appealed to ratepayers' associations withholding payments to municipalities to "come to the party" and help their councils work.
Shiceka, who was speaking during a briefing at his offices in Cape Town ahead of his budget speech on Thursday, said he understood the concerns raised by communities which were protesting against poor service delivery, but that the withholding of money was equivalent to "anarchy".
"We understand the concerns raised by communities, whether it is in townships or whether it is in the suburbs," he said.
"But the issue of gatekeepers, the people who don't want others to contribute, must come to an end.
"The rule of law is important to all of us. If you allow anarchy it will affect all of us in different ways."
'Come to the party'
He said agreements had been reached with some ratepayers' associations that they release some of their money.
"Even the Afrikaners communities, the ratepayers' associations, they are coming to the party and we are engaging with them.
"We have requested them to come to the party, even in the provision of skilled people who do the work."
Shiceka said the department was "getting on top of" the violent service delivery protests that have taken place in townships around South Africa.
"By 2014 there must be no violent service delivery protests," he said.
"People must not trash property. We want the nation to find each other. If there are differences we want to deal with them."
Municipalities turnaround plan
Shiceka said 232 out of the 283 municipalities had completed municipal turnaround strategies.
"By the end of April, we will have concluded all municipalities in South Africa, in terms of looking at their state, but also respond to how do we deal with challenges in these municipalities."
He said corruption had been brought under control in many areas.
"I have not heard about issues of corruption (as concerns) distribution of resources.
"The level of cash-in-transit heists that happen when (during) social grants (deliveries) has been reduced completely."
He said corruption sometimes prevailed where people were not supposed to access grants.
"People sometimes fraudulently create children or claim they have reached an age. That is why government is involved in a process of cleaning our register. In this case we have learned a lot of lessons in things that must be done differently.
"We can't fold our arms and say all is going well when there are problems," he said.