DURBAN - PREMIER Sihle Zikalala said a skills audit will soon be undertaken on all elected councillors, to identify training needs and their experience.
He said the people had spoken and declared there should be no outright winner in the local government elections. This, he added, was a clear message that they want political parties to work together, through the democratic process of co-governing KZN.
On Monday, Zikalala briefed the media on Covid-19 in the province, the situation after the completion of local government elections and the opportunities the province was taking to boost and revive the economy.
He said he was concerned about the number of people who chose not to participate in the 2021 elections. However, he was pleased that society seemed to have come of age. He regarded this as a sign of a maturing democratic order and a mark of social progress.
“This is certainly something that we need to build and consolidate as we march forth as a country. Even in the few incidents where political leaders were assassinated ahead of the elections, we remain confident that the law will indeed take its course.”
Zikalala appealed to all political parties to be united and work together.
“We must never lose sight of the fact that we have a province to develop, and a country to grow.”
The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) will be undertaking the skills audit.
Zikalala said the purpose of the audit was to identify councillor experience and office held, years of experience in local government, employment, educational profile and demographic information.
He said the audit would provide valuable information towards the customisation of capacity-building initiatives.
Two capacity-building programmes are scheduled. The South African Local Government Association will be rolling out the Integrated Councillor Induction Programme. Afterwards, Cogta will conduct sector-based councillor orientation workshops.
“The programmes will provide councillors with an overview of the local government environment which will cover roles and responsibilities, the policy and legal framework and various municipal processes,” Zikalala said.
Independent political analyst Thabani Khumalo said that what the premier was saying was impossible and should not be taken seriously.
Khumalo said the same plan had failed in eThekwini when the then KwaZulu-Natal local government association (Kwanaloga) took councillors to then Durban Westville University for a course.
He said most of the councillors could not cope, because they did not have matric certificates.
“National government should set minimum skills requirements for anyone who wants to be a councillor. At least a councillor must have a matric certificate so that he or she should further his or her studies.“
Zikalala said that after the November 1 elections a few unpleasant scenes occurred where “certain” people were seen toyi-toying and “demanding keys” to certain buildings while others engaged in various forms of provocation.
He said these scenes were accompanied by insults hurled at municipal officials who were public servants and not politicians.
“Until processes have been completed and new councils are sworn in, all the currently constituted structures remain in place. Our Constitution does not allow for a vacuum. It requires a smooth democratic handover from one administration to the next,” Zikalala said.
Cogta is expected to work with all affected municipalities to reconstitute the councils and facilitate the election of office-bearers by November 23.