Mayors: We want our blue lights!

2012-09-16 21:15
Nomusa Dube. (File)

Nomusa Dube. (File)

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Durban - The Zululand District Municipality says it is prepared to go to the country’s highest court to force the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government to allow mayors their blue-light convoys – or to stop everyone in the province from using them.

This comes after Zululand’s councillors, under mayor and National Freedom Party leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, resolved to “engage” KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube to change a directive she issued to mayors last month outlawing their use of blue lights.

Since then, provincial traffic officers have stopped several mayors’ convoys for using blue lights, sparking at least one standoff between bodyguards and the traffic officers who pulled them over.

Zululand Speaker Mpiyakhe Hlatshwayo said the council took the resolution as it believed the MEC was acting unconstitutionally by implementing a directive that targeted one, and not all three, spheres of government.

“If mayors cannot, as the MEC says, use blue lights because of the danger this poses to the public, then obviously the same should apply to all spheres of government.

"The reality is that the bulk of the incidents involving men with blue lights on our roads have involved the convoys of leaders of our provincial government, not those of mayors,’’ he said.

The directive, which states that only SAPS members, and not traffic officers, can use blue lights when transporting VIPs, violates the Constitution, Hlatshwayo said.

Danger to public


Bodyguards and drivers of national and provincial ministers, MPs and MPLs, are SAPS officers while those who transport mayors are traffic officers.

“We understand that the men with blue lights do pose a danger to the public. We believe this directive is about local government being made a whipping boy and being sacrificed by provincial and national government.

“If one poses a danger, all pose a danger,’’ he said.

Hlatshwayo said Zululand’s municipal manager wrote to Dube and the SA Local Government Association asking for talks about “levelling the blue light playing field”.

Dube’s spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said: “The MEC merely communicated to local government the content of the law and the conditions under which blue lights can and cannot be used.

“Her community safety counterpart communicated the same to all protectors in the province. The law is the law
and has to be applied.”

Mabaso said Zululand was “welcome’’ to lobby for legislative changes on the use of blue lights.

“People can either abide by the law or break it and face the consequences,’’ he said.

Read more on:    nfp  |  salga  |  nomusa dube  |  pietermaritzburg  |  blue light incidents
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