Siqalo residents make desperate plea to govt

Siqalo residents are begging government to improve their living conditions.

FILE: A scene from a chaotic service delivery protest in the Western Cape. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Residents of the Siqalo informal settlement in Mitchells Plain have made a desperate plea to government to improve their living conditions.

Earlier this week, community members sporadically took to the streets, venting their anger over poor service delivery.

Residents told Eyewitness News they cannot continue living in sub-standard conditions.

"People need sanitation, water and electricity. You can't blame them for going on like that."

"We need electricity because houses burn down and children get hurt."

ZUMA ON PROTESTS

While addressing recent incidents of violent service delivery protests in his State of the Nation Address on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma came down hard on protesters who resort to violence.

Several people have been killed in protests in Gauteng, the North West and Bronhorspruit in recent weeks.

Zuma says any loss of life is serious.

"Also worrying, is what appears to be premeditated violence, as is the case with the use of petrol bombs and other weapons during protests."

The president also warned against police brutality.

"Any loss of life at the hands of the police in the course of dealing with protests cannot be overlooked or condoned."

He's also cautioned police must act within the ambit of the law at all times.

Meanwhile, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says violence should be condemned no matter who is responsible.

"He [Zuma] raised the responsibility of everybody in society to ensure that when there are public protests, everyone becomes responsible; be it police or members of society. Violence cannot be condoned."

But Congress of the People (Cope) Leader Mosioua Lekota pointed out the African National Congress (ANC)'s own supporters threatened violence during a march led by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Johannesburg this week.

"His own party at their own head office are throwing petrol bombs and bricks at a party that has been given permission to march."

For the president's full State of the Nation Address, click here.