South African Government warned of critical service delivery problems

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In a debate in the National Assembly on Wednesday, government was warned by opposition MPs that service delivery problems are reaching crisis levels and firmer action needs to be taken.

Currently, South Africa sees service delivery protests at an alarming rate: an average of two a week. On Wednesday alone there were at least four protests occurring around the country which led to a municipal building in the Northern Cape and a school in the North West Province being set alight. The SA Police Service also reported that in the Western Cape, protestors from Sir Lowry’s Village had barricaded streets with burning tyres.

The debate on the co-operative governance and traditional affairs department’s R54.7 billion budget, saw Congress of the People MP Juli Kilian, use words like “national disaster” to describe the situation, while Democratic Alliance MP, John Steenhuisen, said that drastic steps were necessary to reform local government.

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenwald went so far as to warn government of anarchy:

“If no strong action is taken against corrupt officials…there will be total anarchy in local governance,” he said.

When opening the debate, Co-operate Governance Minister Richard Baloyi announced government plans to hold “service delivery assessment sessions” throughout the country. He stated that these sessions would “engage with all councillors, all traditional leaders, and finally, all civil society formations, all on service delivery questions”.

Baloyi also said that his department would be conducting a review of legislation which is seen as impeding service delivery. This review would be completed by August.

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