Salga needs to fix the root problems

2012-01-28 11:33

‘We are the face of government and therefore we need insurance from the people who protest and burn our houses.” This, in a nutshell, is a demand to government from local councillors organised into the SA Local Government Association. Now, most employees take full-time employment for benefits which may (but do not always) include risk amelioration, including life and other forms of insurance.

Viewed from a labour market perspective, you can understand the position of councillors. But the lack of introspection on why councillors face protests and arson is breathtaking. Instead of addressing the root cause, Salga is looking for a solution which amounts to a palliative, a band-aid on the festering sore that is local government which is the face of the state.

The insurance demand fails to address the skills base of councillors or assess whether they satisfy accountability requirements. It fails to address real corruption at local level, often the fuel for protests. And it does not address fiscal challenges like whether local government is effectively funded, either by the central government or by efficient systems of revenue collection.

A people’s government should never need insurance from the people – Salga must go back to the drawing board on this demand.

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