9 May 2012

South Africa: Govt Working to Resolve Service Delivery Challenges - Baloyi

Pretoria — Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi says government is working hard to address challenges around service delivery protests.

Speaking ahead of his Budget Vote speech in Cape Town on Wednesday, Baloyi said despite the fact that protests were continuing in some areas of the country, it was incorrect to assume that nothing was being done to address the issue.

"We are not despairing in addressing these challenges. I've been in areas that were affected by these protests such as Rustenburg [in North West] and Lesedi in Gauteng, where the communities are now happy," he said.

However, he cautioned that the violence seen in some of the protests would not be tolerated.

"Lawlessness cannot be allowed in this country. People should use the proper platforms to air their grievances and our doors are always open, meaning we are readily available."

He urged aggrieved communities to use the proper channels to get their voices heard.

"... Go to our provincial offices if you are not satisfied with the answer you get from your municipality and you can approach the Chapter 9 institutions," he advised.

The minister warned as well that some of the protests were politically influenced.

"... Through our interventions, we've realised that service delivery is an easy excuse because mostly when we dig deeper, issues of political interest come to the picture."

Baloyi said his Budget Vote Speech would be centred on five key priorities, namely service delivery; good governance; enhanced financial management; the fight against corruption and maladministration and improvement of infrastructure.

Other topical issues would include the municipal demarcation process in the country as well as more details on the importance of transforming the traditional leadership.

The minister said he would use the occasion of the Budget Vote speech to outline his plans to take forward the "brave pronouncement" relating to the turnaround strategy initiated by his predecessor, the late Minister Sicelo Shiceka.

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