Fears of sabotage in run-up to Mangaung

Bloemfontein - There are plans to destabilise, even sabotage, Free State infrastructure before the ANC's national elective conference in Mangaung, Premier Ace Magashule said on Thursday.

"Various reports have been received on plans to destabilise communities, sabotage infrastructure and the provision of services in order to instigate protest action throughout the Free State in the run-up."

The African National Congress would hold its elective conference in December.

Magashule said no damage to infrastructure, disruption of service delivery or education would be tolerated.

Magashule was reacting to service delivery protests in Free State towns and the looting of foreign-owned shops in townships.

On Wednesday, Free State Democratic Alliance leader Roy Jankielsohn said ANC politicians were not willing to confront communities unhappy with them. The most recent protests in Marquard and Harrismith were examples of this.

Jankielsohn said poor service delivery remained an issue and people had legitimate reasons to be unhappy.

The lack of basic services, unresponsive politicians and officials, and lack of action regarding corruption were some of the issues of concern.

However, Jankielsohn said much of the recent protests appeared to be political in nature, related to faction-fighting within the ANC.

However, Magashule said the protests were instigated by those against the ANC, adding that "barbaric, self-serving and destructive behaviour had been identified".

Magashule said various government teams were helping municipalities address their service delivery problems.

"We have emphasised on various occasions that local government is the coalface of service delivery."

The premier urged residents not to get involved with regime change instigators who intended sabotaging government programmes and service delivery.

"People and communities in the Free State, as well as constitutional structures of the ANC, should not allow that the efforts of the ANC-led government are derailed by hooligans and criminals."

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