In a bid to tackle violent service delivery protests President Cyril Rampahosa says government has established an inter-ministerial task team.

The task team forms part of government’s multi-disciplinary and systemic approach to the issue of service delivery protests.

Fielding oral questions in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Ramaphosa noted that there are several reasons communities protest including local service delivery failures and broader concerns around crime, municipal demarcation, corruption and failure of governance.

Weaknesses in local government

He said most of these protests – both those that are peaceful and those that turn violent – reflect the severe weaknesses in local governance, poor consultation with communities, and a perceived distance between communities and their public representatives at all levels.

“It is necessary to address the causes of these protests in an integrated and comprehensive manner.

“This is why national government is working with provincial and local government to improve the delivery of services, build and maintain municipal infrastructure and strengthen financial and other areas of governance.”

Ramaphosa said the inter-ministerial task team on service delivery integration and alignment will include a number of ministries that have an impact on local government.

Enhanced integrated planning and budgeting

According to the president the team has adopted an approach to enhance integrated planning budgeting and implementation of service delivery programmes in 57 municipalities.

“Together, these municipalities account for over 87% of all households living in informal settlements or backyard dwellings.

“They also constitute over half of all service delivery backlogs and have the greatest number of recorded service delivery protests.

“A set of strategies and action plans are being developed to focus on the short, medium and long-term interventions in these 57 pilot municipalities.”