Ministers snub Salga
Panel discusses the killing of 43 councillors
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.
Salga president Parks Tau and Lizette Lancaster from the Institute for Security Studies.