By Yonelisa Mabotyi
The impact of high unemployment remains a great concern to residents and all key stakeholders in the Metro. Such issues lead to service delivery protests, where roads are blocked with rocks, stormwater pipes, garbage and burning. And cars are stoned and turned back. Different groups of protesters have gathered and are demanding basic municipal services, houses, and jobs at Transnet and Coega.
Many reasons for these protests are offered. The primary reason is dissatisfaction with the delivery of basic municipal services like running water, electricity, and toilets especially in informal settlements. Unemployment, high levels of poverty, poor infrastructure, and the lack of houses add to the growing dissatisfaction in these communities.
Several service delivery protests flared up across the city in the past month alone. Two trucks were torched on the Addo Road, Wednesday, 14 April. Two Algoa busses set alight on the M17 on the way to Kwazakhele on Tuesday morning. A beer truck looted and torched on the R75. Before that, a tanker truck was set alight on the corner of the M17 and R335 to Addo.
The informal settlements in Port Elizabeth can have about 2,000 residents who are not getting any service delivery. They share broken standpipes and must queue for water. These residents share pit toilets with 15 other shack dwellers. The toilets are said to be unhygienic and cause young girls and women infections. When wet, the roads become unconducive. Ambulances do not come because they have no proper roads.
The rising number of service delivery protests highlights the growing need for local businesses to protect themselves financially from the possible risks associated with social unrest. Given the increasingly violent nature of demonstrations in recent months; protests, strikes and riots need to become a permanent part of a business’ risk management plan.