Call for united bid to tackle po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Pen­well Dlamini

PO­LICE‚ civil so­ci­ety and aca­demics have all agreed that po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence needs a col­lec­tive ef­fort and qual­ity lead­er­ship to be rooted out of com­mu­ni­ties.

The SA Lo­cal Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (Salga) held a panel dis­cus­sion yes­ter­day on the killing and intimidation of coun­cil­lors and mu­nic­i­pal man­agers across the coun­try.

The dis­cus­sions were part of the launch of a Salga re­port on a study on the num­ber of killings and the intimidation that coun­cil­lors ex­pe­ri­ence.

The study showed that a to­tal of 43 coun­cil­lors had been killed between 2011 and last year.

The high­est num­ber of killings was in KwaZulu-Natal, with 22 mur­ders.

Sec­ond was North West with six killings‚ fol­lowed by Mpumalanga and the East­ern Cape‚ both with four‚ Gauteng‚ North­ern Cape and Western Cape, all with two, and Lim­popo with one killing. The Free State had no record of killing dur­ing the time of the re­search.

Salga pres­i­dent Parks Tau lamented the ab­sence of the se­cu­rity clus­ter dur­ing the dis­cus­sion.

“We in­vited min­is­ters in the se­cu­rity clus­ter to be part of the con­ver­sa­tion around the killing of coun­cil­lors. We think it is un­for­tu­nate that the min­is­ters have not par­tic­i­pated in this dis­cus­sion‚” Tau said.

Pro­fes­sor Karl von Holdt, of the Univer­sity of Wit­wa­ter­srand‚ who has done re­search into po­lit­i­cal killings‚ said the vi­o­lence in so­ci­ety had to be tack­led on all fronts‚ not just state in­sti­tu­tions.

Von Holdt also re­marked on the at­ti­tude of po­lice on cases in­volv­ing po­lit­i­cal killings.

“In one of the case stud­ies, we spoke to a po­lice of­fi­cer and he said this one [mur­der] is ac­tu­ally a po­lit­i­cal killing – we’re not go­ing to get in­volved.”

Cen­tre for the Study of Vi­o­lence and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion di­rec­tor Nom­bulelo Mo­gapi drew the at­ten­tion of the panel to the dwin­dling lev­els of hope in the coun­try. “When we [re­searched] the psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects of vi­o­lence, we found that the emo­tion of hope is so im­por­tant.

“Ac­tu­ally, when peo­ple are los­ing hope‚ the lev­els of vi­o­lence are much more likely to be higher than when there is hope.

“Cur­rently‚ there is a sense that as South Africa we are los­ing hope. In the 1980s and ’90s we had the hope of a South Africa that we wanted to cre­ate, but now we don’t have a com­mon vi­sion of what is it that we want to cre­ate that can mo­bilise us to­gether.”

The at­tacks have caused Salga‚ as the em­ployer body‚ to or­gan­ise a spe­cial in­sur­ance for politi­cians.

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