Limpopo officials show disdain for community concerns and protests follow

By Langa Bodlani MPL, DA Limpopo Provincial Chairperson:

Two recent examples of Limpopo government officials showing complete disdain for communities, go far to explain the eruption of violent protests in the province. In both cases, government officials undertook to do things which never materialised and no explanation was offered.

For so long as the Limpopo government ignores the plight of the people, protests will only grow more and more likely.

In one instance, after a meeting that the DA and the representatives of the Blouberg Development Forum held with the officials of the Department of Health on 13 July 2015, the department broke its promise to deliver a service improvement plan by last week Friday. Friday came and went, and no service improvement plan was produced.

At the core of the BDF’s concerns is the downgrading of Blouberg Hospital to its current status of a health centre.  Services at this centre have now denigrated to unacceptable levels.  Even the nearby Helene Franz Hospital is in chaos to serve over 125 villages of Bochum.

The Department’s delegation was led by Dr. Kgaphole, a senior manager in charge of public hospitals. Dr Kgaphole committed to send to us and the BDF a service improvement plan for both Blouberg Health Centre and Helene Franz by the coming Friday (17 July 2015). A follow up call was made to him on 21 July 2015, he yet again committed to the initial unfulfilled promise.

To date, nothing has happened and the BDF are left in the lurch by Dr Kgaphole.

Another incident demonstrating the same disdain relates to tarring of roads outside of Seshego, where a promise was made and the promise was broken.

A manager in Roads Agency Limpopo, Mr Chisane, attended a meeting on 16 July 2015 with the DA and the representatives of Ward 9 Development Forum of Chebeng outside of Seshego to discuss the condition of the road which has been ignored for tarring for a number of years. This road has been designated a priority road for development for a number of years now.

This community was, earlier,  engaged in a violent protest to get government’s action on this road.

In the meeting, Mr Chisane undertook to send an update on the road by 17 July 2015, yet on that date nothing happened.  A follow-up call to him on 21 July has still not pushed him to action.

This conduct by these two officials should not come as a surprise if the head of government, Premier Mathabtha, can do the same to the communities of Burgersfort. The entire town of Tubatse has now come to a complete halt as a result of these empty promises.

The DA strongly condemns the violent protest which often times lead to the destruction of property and unnecessary loss of life. These protests affect the economy negatively.

However with the attitude displayed by senior government officials including the premier to legitimate community grievances, the DA empathises with our communities.

To make matters worse these officials do not even have the decency to call and explain their delay. Yet they will continue to be on the pay roll and no consequences will ensue for their reckless inaction. This is the culture of the ANC today; inaction, broken promises and hiding from accountability.

A DA government will be responsive to the communities’ needs and all public officials will be performance monitored closely to ensure the best possible delivery to residents.