It’s time to ‘qualify’ councillors, KZN academic tells commission
YOU don’t need to be qualified to be a councillor‚ which was why people were being killed for coveted positions.
This was the testimony of University of KwaZulu-Natal Professor Paulos Zulu‚ to the Moerane Commission into political violence yesterday.
He argued that anyone could be elected a councillor in South Africa regardless of their qualifications – and this was one of the main drivers of political violence.
Zulu told the commission that if politicians‚ especially at councillor level‚ had to be qualified to take up their posts‚ the need for anyone to kill for positions would be greatly reduced.
Zulu said there was more competition for councillor positions than was the case in the national assembly or provincial legislatures. He said the monthly salary of a councillor was‚ generally‚ well over R15 000.
He said the culture of resolving conflict through violence was already entrenched in South Africa‚ meaning that all the ingredients for political killings were in place.
“This country is anarchic. When there are street demonstrations‚ they turn into violence. Say‚ if I don’t like my employer‚ I block the N3 [highway]‚” he said.
Zulu said that while policing would be a short-term solution‚ qualifications for political positions should be put as high priority.
“To be in council one must appreciate the budget‚ have grasp of the statistics and know that if you have ‘X’ and not ‘Y’‚ you cannot get there. There’s a serious dearth of skills. But [instead]‚ those who shout the most and sing the most at rallies get the positions‚” he said.
“If you have a qualification you won’t resort to killing because you’re marketable.
“The 80s was complex in terms of participants‚ but violence today is very selective. It does not target ordinary people unless they are hit by a stray bullet. It targets people who occupy positions in society‚” Zulu said.
Zulu said South Africans did not like competition and that there was a culture of competition-elimination.
“My contention is there seems to be a culture of eliminating the competition. We have an elimination culture‚” he said‚ adding it was a case of “why not eliminate the opposition” instead of outperforming them. — DDC