DA, EFF blame unfulfilled promises and corruption for Walmer protest

AUGUST 14, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape on Thursday blamed the violent protests that rocked Walmer township in Port Elizabeth on promises that were made to the community but were not being met.

"The empty promises of the ANC around housing and basic service delivery are a direct cause of the community’s frustrations which have boiled over into violent protest in Walmer today and yesterday," said the DA's Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Safety and Security, Bobby Stevenson.

He said that a group of public representatives from the DA consisting of Andrew Whitfield MP, ward councillor Dave Hayselden and councillor Thobani Noqoli (who lives in Walmer Township), Marshall von Buchenroder MPL and myself witnessed first-hand the protest.

"This has resulted in businesses and schools closing, cars being stoned and a truck being set alight as well as the burning of tyres. We condemn the opportunistic criminal element that has engaged in unlawful activities.

"Violence can never ever be justified. It appears that the police were under-prepared and did not contain the situation around the entrance to Walmer Township and allowed it to spill over into Main Road, Walmer," Stevenson added.

"We believe that in a fair society, the municipality must have on-going and meaningful engagement with the community to try and resolve grievances in a truthful manner.

"At the same time the SAPS has a duty to maintain law and order and ensure the residents of our communities feel safe and can exercise freedom of movement without being subject to stoning and other harassment."

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Eastern Cape said the protest action had its roots in corruption around reconstruction and development programme housing tenders.

EFF Eastern Cape spokesperson Yoliswa Yako said the government needed to reflect on the rising number of public service protests.

"The complaints of the community of Walmer township, and countless others across the Eastern Cape, are genuine," she said.

---additional reporting News24wire