Internal party politics causes political killings – Salga

2017-08-29 20:47
Salga officials at the Moerane Commission. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Salga officials at the Moerane Commission. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Durban – The SA Local Government Association (Salga) said on Tuesday that internal party political squabbles are one of the main causes of political killings.

A delegation of five officials made the declaration at the Moerane Commission that is investigating the high number of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

Salga national executive committee member councillor Bhekumzi Stofile said internal party politics played a major role in killings.

“Killings that are taking place, here in KZN and elsewhere, we found, they are informed by internal political squabbles.”

He said the process of councillor candidate selection in parties left room for sour grapes among politicians.

“The process parties choose to select councillor candidates creates competition, with some seeing themselves as potential councillors even though a preferred candidate was selected.”

Why are political killings dominant in KZN?

According to provincial executive member of Salga, councillor Rejoice Zulu, KZN was “quite unique" from other provinces.

“It is reported that we have 54 out of 253 municipalities around the country. The bigger the house, the more different challenges become.”

She said that the personal lives of councillors could also not be discounted.

“In addition to political disagreements, many councillors have personal life issues that lead to their deaths.”

According to Zulu, many good community workers were avoiding becoming councillors because of violence.

“Some would rather stay at home than take up positions because of fear of being killed.”

KZN had a history of violence from the 1980s and although it has stopped for many years, “we need to find out how this has resurfaced”, said Zulu.

“There was heavy political violence in the 80s. How do we go back to a point where we do not have violence?”

Increase in conflict since early 2000's 

According to Lance Joel, a representative from Salga’s national office, there had been an upsurge of violent protests at municipal level since the dawn of democracy.

“In the early 2000’s Free State and North West is where protests were. Now we find that it intensifies leading up to elections and post elections. Motivation for protests ranges from labour disputes, service delivery and local administration to party squabbles.”

He pointed out that property, including community halls, libraries, clinics and municipal vehicles were often burnt during protests and labour disputes.

“These protests have become violent and we see lots of criminal activities. A small march to a municipal building ends up with something being burnt or officials attacked.”

Source of the protests

According to Joel, in addition to poor communication with communities, protests also sparked because of a lack of public participation.

“There is poor communication and lack of public participation. People wake up and feel new laws and programmes are in place and they have not been engaged."

He added that lack of youth development and financial mismanagement was also a challenge.

“The youth feel they are not given opportunities to develop themselves.”

Joel said that another reason why protests flared up was because of an increasingly high turnover of councillors.

“This year alone we have 70% new councillors. In the first 2.5 years of their five-year-term, many of these councillors will still be coming to terms with their role in delivering services. Thereafter, they will have to start campaigning again. This stifles service delivery.”

Read more on:    salga  |  durban  |  moerane commission  |  political killings

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