Motlanthe: Let's put people first
DEPUTY President Kgalema Motlanthe yesterday cautioned leaders against thinking they knew better than the people they served.
He said those who acted like "benevolent dictators" left people feeling alienated and with no other choice but to embark on violent protests.
Motlanthe said the responsibility of leaders was to make the 1955 dream of the Freedom Charter - which guarantees economic prosperity - a reality.
"It must be our daily mantra for all of us in leadership to put people first and to be mindful, always, to be compassionate and empathetic about their needs."
Motlanthe was speaking on the second and final day of SA Local Government Association (Salga) conference in Midrand.
Before Motlanthe took to the podium, Salga deputy chair Mpho Nawa told delegates to "refrain from singing songs that might be divisive".
On Monday delegates sang a pro-Zuma song, "sihamba noZuma (We are going with Zuma), before President Jacob Zuma addressed the conference.
Motlanthe's said that some service delivery protests that have hit local government had little to do with lack of service delivery.
"It was more about the delivery of mismatched priorities and in some cases services that are outside the local government sphere."
Motlanthe acknowledged that there were plenty of problems facing local government but said these were not insurmountable.
There needed to be better communication between councillors and communities, he said, and concerns needed to be taken seriously.