War rooms set up to deal with Gauteng service delivery protests - Makhura

Genevieve Quintal, News24

Johannesburg - War rooms have been set up in all Gauteng municipalities to deal with service delivery issues and protests, Premier David Makhura said on Tuesday.

Through these war rooms, rapid response systems had been institutionalised, he told delegates from the National Council of Provinces provincial week in Johannesburg.

This meant that municipalities were able to engage directly with community protesters who were frustrated by poor service delivery.

"By doing this, we are shifting communities away from violent protests by offering a rapid response culture and a listening ear to their concerns," he said.

According to the department of co-operative governance’s first six months summary, between October last year and March this year, Gauteng had the highest number of protests.

Out of the 541 protests around the country, 132 were in Gauteng.

Of the 541, 217, or 40%, turned violent.

Makhura said Gauteng wanted active citizens.

"Essentially what we are trying to build is an integrated, socially cohesive, economically inclusive city region," he told officials attending the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) provincial week in Johannesburg.

"We wouldn't want to have a citizenry in our province which waits for government to do everything. We want citizens who are active... [who] take up issues robustly but without violence."

He said the province would be "boring" if it did not have those communities which kept it on its toes.

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