Call for united bid to tackle political violence
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.