Zuma pleads for peaceful protests
Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday urged communities not to resort to violence in protests over living standards and pledged an improvement in the delivery of basic services.
Riot police spent three days this week battling demonstrations in Wesselton, in Ermelo which is blighted by a high rate of unemployment and a lack of basic services.
"Whatever the grievances are, they can only be resolved through engagement with the authorities and not through violence. The police will continue to act against those who break the law," Zuma told Parliament.
The three-day protest in Wesselton had quietened on Thursday ahead of a community meeting on Monday, the Sapa reported.
A local leader said people were unhappy about service delivery, unemployment and the selection of candidates for the forthcoming municipal elections which are expected by end May.
Pledging that services would be improved ahead of the polls, Zuma said officials had signed performance and service delivery agreements and a strategy was also being put in place to tackle backlogs and complaints.
"As we head for local government elections, we are confident that the measures we are putting in place will improve the functioning of local government, as all players know what is expected of them," he said.