The damage caused by violent service delivery protests like this one cost the country R392m according to Salga. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - SOUTH Africa is experiencing a rise in local government-related political violence directed at councillors and municipal officials, the SA Local Government Association (Salga) said on Wednesday.

The association's executive committee members were giving feedback to the media on their assessment of municipalities and interventions they made where the need arose.

Among the avenues that prompted intervention were the high insurance payouts for damage to property during protests (political, non-political and service delivery protests).

Among the interventions was to put 40 ailing municipalities around the country under administration, including 10 in KwaZulu-Natal.

Salga president Thembi Nkadimeng said to have so many municipalities under administration at the same time was a concern.

“Very few of these municipalities are under administration for the first time. They get in and out two or three times. Remember, municipalities are graded so the smaller you are, the poorer you get, and that's the recipe for this mess.

"The various interventions we introduced include a Salga Mobi App which will enable individuals to alert authorities about anything they believe is a threat to local government,” Nkadimeng said.

Xolile George, another committee member, said the app was created by the association and co-funded by the EU to the tune of about R500 000.

“The incident reporting app will enable individuals to register any form of threat, harm or damage to municipal property, councillors and that of officials as soon as it happens. We believe that the app will improve the response speed by law enforcement agencies,” George said.

Through SA Special Risk Insurance Agency (Saria) data, Salga was able to assess the nature of damage to municipal property due to riots for the period 2013/18. According to the data, the total damage for the six-year period due to political and non-political incidents amounted to R392million countrywide.

Service delivery-related protests were the most expensive, contributing to over R221m.

Of the top 10 municipalities with the highest frequency of claims, five were metros. Ethekwini was the fourth after Ekurhuleni, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay.

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