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Fri Nov 21 19:53:11 SAST 2014

Repeated unruly protests will be undoing of nation

The Times Editorial | 22 January, 2013 00:32

The Times Editorial: Another week, another service-delivery protest, so the story about South Africa goes. The continuing protest in Zamdela township in Sasolburg, Free State, has again exposed the thin line we walk as South Africans.

Every month there is chaos in our towns as residents take to the streets in protest. In most cases these demonstrations are linked to a lack of service delivery either by the government or employers.

While the chaos continues in Sasolburg, home to petrochemicals group Sasol and oil company Total, we are again left to ask: where is our government?

Where are the police to stop the anarchy spreading?

Where are law and order to stop the looting of private businesses and the burning of buildings that provide much-needed services to the community?

Though answers to these questions continue to elude us, this government has a duty to bring about stability in this country.

It does not help for President Jacob Zuma to tell the nation that it has every right to protest without also emphasising that such a right should be accompanied by responsible conduct.

If South Africa is to succeed in projecting itself as a democracy, we all need to have a hard and honest conversation about our behaviour.

Why is it that every time there is a protest we end up looting and destroying government infrastructure that we have paid for as citizens?

It is unfortunate that those we have elected to run this country are failing to put an end to this anarchy.

Failure to put a stop to this will take our image down the gutter and it will be even more difficult to convince investors to set up business in this country.

British journalist Sir Harold Evans nailed it when he said a troubled society is bad for business.

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