EDITORIAL: Follow systems in place

2017-05-14 09:30

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WATCH: Here's a look at the protests that rocked SA this week

2017-05-12 16:40

Looting, stoning, burning and damage - South Africa has been rocked by many violent protests over the past few weeks. WATCH

Our democracy is hailed as an example of how oppressors and the oppressed can live side by side after the establishment of a democratic dispensation.

Our Constitution is widely regarded as the world’s most progressive, with a peerless bill of rights.

It details multiple mechanisms safeguarding people’s participation in governance and to hold those in public office accountable for decisions.

There is clear division between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. Arms of government must function without interference from others.

Chapter 9 institutions exist to protect the public from abuse by those in government. They ensure that people’s rights to culture, religion, languages and freedoms are not trampled on.

Parliamentarians have a duty to report back on the work of the legislature via constituency offices.

At local level – where service delivery matters most – ward committees are in place for councillors to provide feedback to the people.

Municipal integrated development plans provide direction on what developments will be implemented and by when.

With these systems firmly in place, it should be easy for communities to communicate to their elected representatives on a regular basis about dissatisfaction with slow service delivery.

But this is not happening.

Instead, communities continue to cry foul that they only see councillors when they electioneer, before they vanish once in office.

Constituency offices are often unattended and parliamentarians fail to report back to the people.

With the failure of the systems in place, lack of feedback from those in power and slow service delivery, communities are resorting to violent behaviour in order to be heard.

Burning of schools, clinics, libraries, and police stations, and damaging of any other public facilities has become the norm.

Further, communities compare themselves with neighbouring areas where they see taking place the development they’re not receiving.

Leading citizens must ensure governance structures are effectively used by those in power to communicate with communities they serve.

We also need to work on how to address the effects of the Jacob Zuma presidency, which has inculcated a culture whereby democratic processes and systems are not adhered to by those holding office.

This will ensure that the culture of destruction of property by those needing attention of those in office is nullified to allow South Africa to preserve infrastructure still intact.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  service delivery  |  constitution

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