Min­is­ters snub Salga

Panel dis­cusses the killing of 43 coun­cil­lors

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Ng­wako Mod­jadji

Na­tional min­is­ters are snub­bing the SA Lo­cal Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (Salga) events meant to dis­cuss the killing and in­tim­i­da­tion of coun­cil­lors around the coun­try.

This was re­vealed in Sand­ton yes­ter­day dur­ing a Salga panel dis­cus­sion on the killings.

Se­cu­rity clus­ter min­is­ters who in­clude Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula, De­fence and Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans Min­is­ter No­siviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter David Mahlobo have missed pre­vi­ous events in­clud­ing the re­cent coun­cil of speak­ers in Dur­ban. The event serves as a fo­rum through which mu­nic­i­pal­ity speak­ers can con­sult one an­other on mat­ters of com­mon in­ter­est to im­prove gov­er­nance and ser­vice de­liv­ery within lo­cal govern­ment.

Yes­ter­day, act­ing po­lice com­mis­sioner Le­setja Moth­iba be­came the lat­est se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cial not to at­tend a panel dis­cus­sion where it was re­vealed that 43 coun­cil­lors have been killed and 24 in­jured since 2011.

This is con­tained in a Salga re­port ti­tled: Killing and in­tim­i­da­tion of coun­cil­lors and mu­nic­i­pal man­agers.

Salga pres­i­dent Parks Tau de­cried the ab­sence of these govern­ment of­fi­cials, say­ing they were not ap­pre­ci­at­ing the im­por­tance of the is­sue. “We think that the min­is­ters must pri­ori­tise this,” said Tau. “They are not giv­ing it the nec­es­sary pri­or­ity.

“It is quite un­for­tu­nate that the min­is­ters did not avail them­selves for what we think is an im­por­tant is­sue for the whole coun­try.”

The panel dis­cus­sion took place as po­lit­i­cal killings con­tinue in KwaZulu-Natal, which has recorded the high­est num­ber of killings in the coun­try. ANC MP Amos Ma­sondo said the killings in KwaZulu-Natal were po­lit­i­cal.

Tau also used the event to warn that agent provo­ca­teurs would find it easy to desta­bilise South Africa if the killings are not stopped.

“I am con­vinced that the con­tin­ued in­tim­i­da­tion and killing of coun­cil­lors cre­ates an en­vi­ron­ment in which agent provo­ca­teurs could find it easy to desta­bilise in­sti­tu­tions, coun­cils, com­mu­ni­ties and the coun­try if we don’t put an end to the killings.

“I think it is a mat­ter that could con­trib­ute to the desta­bil­i­sa­tion of towns, cities, vil­lages and in­deed the coun­try if we don’t be­come vig­i­lant of agent provo­ca­teurs and what they could do [if they take] ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion.”

The Study of Vi­o­lence and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Nom­bulelo Mo­gapi told del­e­gates that the killing of the coun­cil­lors is a symp­tom of a big­ger prob­lem.

“You need lead­ers who are able to op­er­ate in this highly emo­tive [en­vi­ron­ment] and who are to re­act to the frus­tra­tions of the com­mu­ni­ties.”

Salga has rec­om­mended a re­view of se­cu­rity threat as­sess­ments for coun­cil­lors.

It takes be­tween eight and nine months for the as­sess­ment to be con­cluded.

Salga CEO Xo­lile Ge­orge said the as­so­ci­a­tion wants im­prove­ments to en­able pre­ven­tive mea­sures.

/ THULANI MBELE

Salga pres­i­dent Parks Tau and Lizette Lan­caster from the In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity Stud­ies.

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