Dying for service delivery

The recent developments in Brits this week where two people were allegedly killed by the police and another dead after he was allegedly being pushed from a Nyala always reminds me of Nelson Mandela comments that: “In my country we go to prison first and then become President.”

Well, it now appears that for many poorer South Africans – majority of them black – you first have to fight for service delivery through protests and then be killed by the police before you could receive whatever you were promised by the current ruling party. It is therefore sad to be sitting, writing about what the poor communities were subjected to early this week, resulting in three of their members brutally killed by the police. Although investigations of how or who killed them are underway, information from the communities is that it was in fact the police – unprovoked, by the way – that threw tear gas and shot bullets into a peaceful march at Mothutlung, near Brits in the North West on Monday.

This after the community marched due to lack of water services in their area for about a week. The community further alleged that the police gave no warnings before the shooting – a serious allegation that is a contravention of current crowd control policies. It is not clear whether Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa wanted community members to be killed first before she could promise them water before end of the weekend.

As with the death of Andries Tatana by the police following a community protest for service delivery (and of course many other police brutality victims like him across the country), it now appears that before communities can be given the services promised by the ruling party in their respective municipality – one has or some of them have to die first.

Is that now how we are going to be governed: die first, service delivery later?

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