Yes to better service, no to the violence

2014-02-09 10:00

We all agree South Africans deserve better services from the people they choose to represent their interests.

Clean running water and decent housing are just two examples of the basic services we all deserve.

An efficient public transport system is a dream we hope to realise to enable us to move from point A to point B. And, of course, the transport should be running on good roads rather than the pothole-riddled ones we have.

We acknowledge that people who are unhappy about the level of service delivery in their areas have every right to protest against the bad service they get from their municipalities.

They have every right to demand these services. After all, this is what democracy is all about. They should demand equal services for all, irrespective of their residential addresses.

While the rights to march and demand services are recognised, the way the protests have turned violent cannot be condoned.

Just this week, residents of Bronkhorstspruit, east of Tshwane, burnt down a library and a satellite police station.

Once the community’s demands for better services have been addressed, the library and the police station would have to be rebuilt at the expense of the community.

Who will the community blame if the youth hang out on the street instead of being at the library with books in hand, reading; or when police take forever to arrive after an urgent call since they will now be moved to the city centre instead of the residents’ doorstep?

So, while it is okay to demand better basic services from government, let’s not burn buildings that offer the very little services the communities cry about.

Let’s guard against the destruction of the little services we have, but continue to demand better.

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