Safety threatened by poor services in the Free State

Darryl Worth MP

DA Free State Member of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP)

There is growing proof that the poor levels of service delivery in the Free State are threatening the security in our province.

In a reply to a question the Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Mtethwa, indicated that 58 service delivery protests occurred in the 2010/11 Financial year. Another 52 service delivery protests occurred during 2011/2012. (Reply attached)

Other sources indicate that the number of violent protests that took place in the Free State between January and July this year constitutes 14% of the total service delivery protest since 2004.

Police resources, which are supposed to tackle crime, are being diverted to attend to violent protests as a result of the ANC’s inability to deliver affective services to marginalized communities.

Factionalism within the ruling party together with the unwilling provincial government to implement corrective measures in communities that do not share in the freedom our Constitution offers, are in fact contributing to the increasing levels of service delivery protests in the province.

This was especially highlighted the past week when the Institute for Security Services indicated in parliament that “police were increasingly being seen by members of the community as the face of the state.”

The Democratic Alliance regards the ANC lead provincial government, who should be ensuring safety by, amongst others, delivering services, as the major contributor to security risks in the province. Whereas government should be addressing the poor levels of services, government currently lacks the ability to enforce accountability to officials who do not deliver.

Whilst the ANC continue to reward and deploy poor performing officials, such officials are the reason why our communities are becoming increasingly despondent. As a result, the police will be challenged with more violent protests, and the vicious cycle of insecurity in the Free State continues. In the meantime, the situation will become more unstable with the growing levels of unemployment in the communities.

Scarce police resources are being deployed to deal with service delivery protests instead of fighting crime in our province.

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