Govt: Delivery protests more violent

Johannesburg - There has been an increase in violence, threats, and intimidation against councillors in Gauteng during service delivery protests, the co-operative governance department said on Wednesday.

"The province also lost over R70m in social facilities destroyed during the violence," MEC Jacob Mamabolo said in a statement.

Councillors from Gauteng municipalities attended a two-day conference on Monday and Tuesday themed "Building popular democracy and people's power".

Mamabolo said the department wanted to discourage "the apartheid culture of violence" that had taken root in communities. He said differences could be resolved through discussion.

"The culture of violence stifles development in our communities and must come to an end. Clinics, schools, libraries are not public enemies, then why should they be targeted whereas they are intended as instruments of bringing much needed help and support to communities?"

He said no amount of anger could justify the destruction of community assets.

A review of ward councillors' effectiveness would be conducted.

"We have noted that there is some level of public distrust in elected representatives and we cannot effect a radical social and economic transformation if we do not change the way government works and relates to society," Mamabolo said.

Forty-six women had graduated after completing the women councillors' skills development programme, he said.