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Salga condemns residents’ damaging of muni property

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The South African Local Government Association (Salga) has in a press release issued on Tuesday condemned community protest and violence and the ensuing burning of municipal facilities by the residents of Ga-Mapela outside Mokopane.
The unrest stems from residents’ dissatisfaction with Anglo Mokgalakwena Platinum mine’s alleged failure to assist the community with employment opportunities and community projects.
The press release issued by Salga National Spokesperson, Thahir Sema stated that it does not make sense to destroy municipal property or facilities “meant to deliver crucial services to the very same aggrieved community”.
“With the limited fiscal resources that is allocated to municipalities to operate with, the reality is that many municipalities have limited resources or means to rebuild the facilities that protesters destroy, as a result, it will take years to have them rebuilt. Burning municipal buildings and facilities are not just an act of vandalism punishable under public violence. It is similar to destroying your own house and furniture as a result of anger.
This does not make sense and should be condemned by all caring and patriotic South Africans,” the statement read.
The statement added that Salga calls for communities to make use of community structures and systems such as ward committees, public participation programmes and Integrated Development Planning (IDP) engagements that gives them direct participation in the governing of their respective councils.
“Regardless of the grievances people may have, violent protests only aggravate the challenges communities face and has no place in a democratic South Africa. The Constitution protects the rights of everyone to assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions in an unarmed and peaceful manner. These rights, however, by no means allow for criminal behavior such as the destruction of property, or the intimidation and assault of other individuals in pursuit of any objective.”
The statement concluded with Salga’s call for Anglo Mokgalakwena Platinum Mine’s management to speedily avail opportunities for public engagement with residents so as to resolve matters.