Letters to the editor: July 29 to August 4 2016

Protests are largely driven by poor service delivery and unemployment. Citizens must move away from sentimental attachments and vote for those who will bring change. (David Harrison)

Protests are largely driven by poor service delivery and unemployment. Citizens must move away from sentimental attachments and vote for those who will bring change. (David Harrison)

Vote in leaders who deliver

The failure of government to deliver on its promises continues to fuel the high rate of service delivery protests across most provinces. These protests mostly occur because of people’s dissatisfaction with the delivery of basic municipal services such as running water, electricity and toilets, especially in informal settlements.

Unemployment, high levels of poverty and poor infrastructure add to the dissatisfaction in these and other poor communities. Service delivery protests are a result of political parties’ failure to honour promises made during election campaigns.

At times these protests turn violent and destructive to the point where police use force to contain the situation.
Use of force by police is sometimes disproportionate and brutal, going beyond crowd management.

We remember the brutal killing of Andries Tatane by the police in Ficksburg, Free State in 2001. We recall that in 2014, at Relela outside Tzaneen in Limpopo, two men were killed by police during a protest.

The killing of these people was occasioned by them asking for drinking water and other basic municipal services, 21 years into democracy and after the failure of the incumbent government to deliver on campaign promises.

The coming 2016 local government elections could demonstrate and display the real power voters have by holding those officials elected into office accountable at all times. These coming elections present an opportunity for voters (who are mostly black) to move from sentimental attachments (voting for their historical allegiances) to voting for an alternative that offers a better chance of providing access to basics services.

Local government is the point where government connects with the people daily and most closely. It is at this point that access to government services occurs.

The basic services municipalities are expected to deliver need
to happen and to be made accessible.

The people in their respective municipalities know who delivers and who does not. The voters have the power to put into office those who can deliver. It is this voting that can end service delivery protests, if voters put into office those people most likely to be able to deliver.

The then minister for co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, speaking to the South African Local Government Association in East London in April 2006, admitted that “many of our municipalities are in a state of paralysis and dysfunction”. This paralysis, according to the minister, was a result of the deployment of comrades to positions they were not qualified for. This has resulted in the widespread collapse of service delivery.

Your vote is your power to end the corruption, nepotism and maladministration in local government. The time has come for voters to use their voting power. – Godfrey Mahloko, Pretoria

Modi article was an attack on Hindus

  It takes a special appreciation of radical propaganda to understand the vitriolic, unsubstantiated, emotional outburst of Azad Essa (Modi’s Durban trip ripe with irony), which was an attack on one-billion Hindus and India itself.

India is a Hindu state, just as Saudi Arabia and other countries are Muslim states governed by sharia law. India has been under attack by Islamic and Pakistani-sponsored terrorists, who carry out murderous attacks on Hindu civilians in the name of Islam.

The Rasytriya Swayamsevek Sang (RSS) is a nationalist volunteer organisation or national patriotic organisation. It is the only organisation that stands fearlessly and unapologetically against Islamic terrorism.

Its mission is to restore the Indian value system, based on universalism, peace, prosperity for all and the idea that the world is one family. The notion that the RSS is known for “stirring criminal hate” only exists in the mind of Essa and his masters.

As for the propagandist view that the RSS was “behind the movement to build a Hindu temple on the site of an ancient mosque”, the truth is that the Babri mosque in Ayodya was built on a Hindu temple site that was destroyed by the Muslim Mogul invader Babar.

In 2003, an archaeological survey of India found definite proof of the existence of a temple under the mosque. This is beyond dispute. In the protests by Muslims that followed, both Hindus and Muslims were killed before the government of India managed to bring the situation under control.

On the 1992 riots, the fact is that a train carrying Hindus was attacked by Muslims who killed 59 Hindu passengers, including 27 women and 10 children. Hindus insist it was planned with the assistance of Pakistan intelligence. A court convicted 31 Muslims for the incident.

Whatever Essa feels about MK Gandhi, recall that Nelson Mandela, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, said he owed his success to Gandhi.

On Kashmir, which is part of India, the violence fuelled by Islamic State is ongoing. Protesters are often armed with guns and bombs and are extremely violent. If they use violence against Indian authorities, they must suffer the consequences. The protesters Essa refers to were in fact attackers, and the dispute over Kashmir predates Modi’s appointment to office.

We should use the South African experience to promote harmony, love and ubuntu to reconcile differences based on religion. – Jai Hind and advocate AK Singh, convenors of the South African Minority Rights Equality Movement (Samrem), Pietermaritzburg

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