Protests part of a plot? iLIVE
My heart sinks when I am informed of a service-delivery protest, and I think of the desperation that has driven people to take extraordinary measures. It sinks because I think of the breakdown in the relationship between a government and its people.
It sinks because, for everything that we do, for all the systems we put in place, for all the problems we address, we can never satisfy everyone. And so I know that, somewhere, somehow, there are people who feel excluded and neglected.
There will always be casualties. When making tough choices about how best to utilise limited resources, some people will be left wanting and waiting.
I am disgusted when there are more casualties than there needs to be.
Among legitimate service delivery protests, amid communities searching for their voice, there are also protests used to advance political agendas, to destabilise the city.
This is not a conspiracy theory - it is the real frustration of a government dealing with individuals who would destabilise our society and resort to violence.
I know the value of resistance and of fighting for what is right. I did so for decades.
And, because I am a democrat, I resent the use of brutal tactics to fulfil a political agenda.
There is evidence in the public domain that indicates that such forces are working in our communities.
One example is Operation Reclaim - a concerted campaign by the ANC to destabilise the Western Cape in the run-up to the national election in 2014.
Obviously, parties try and sway the opinion of voters in between.
That is right and good in a democratic system.
What is not right and good is when you have thoroughly failed in service delivery and your only recourse is to divert public attention to manufactured "protests".
The damages of this kind of "protest" add up. After last week's protest in the Cape Town informal settlement of Phumlani Village it will take R600000 to repair the 12 traffic lights that were damaged.
In fact, R2.6-million has been spent over the past two weeks alone to fix metro traffic lights damaged in the protests.
This money is spent repairing facilities that are deliberately destroyed, instead of building new ones. Once again, it is poor people who suffer most.
To reconcile our governance strategy, we need to be able to distinguish between legitimate protests and those fuelled by political ambitions.
Local government does not have the ability to gather intelligence - that function is the domain of state organs such as the National Intelligence Agency and the South African Police Service. We will need their help.
As such, I will be seeking a meeting with provincial police commissioner General Arno Lamoer to investigate the possibility that the protests in Cape Town have been politically designed.
The only thing more tragic than seeing the poor being neglected is knowing they have been manipulated .