Durban - South African Local Government Association (Salga) president Bheke Stofile says the killing of councillors and municipal officials underlines how the outsourcing of some municipal functions has seen the involvement of other groups, including business forums that demand work without following due processes.
He was briefing the media yesterday on the second day of the Salga National Executive Committee gathering.
A representative from iLembe District Municipality lamented how in many of the projects they were undertaking they had business forum members halting their activities by demanding work.
“They arrive with assault rifles and demand contracts and this is something that needs to be addressed,” said the municipal official.
Stofile said the outsourcing of some of the key services had allowed for such groups to thrive, citing water provision as one such problem area for municipalities.
“Water tankers is a facilitation of the stealing of money. We need to deal with corruption decisively,” he said.
Stofile warned of the erosion of democracy if the killings were not addressed, noting how the killings had been witnessed in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape and were now reported in the Western Cape.
Stofile pointed out that Salga had identified outsourcing as the cause of the problems early on and made a presentation to the Moerane Commission on political killings many years ago, adding that such a move illustrated that they took the matter seriously.
“This issue shows the level of lawlessness and disregard for human life; they have organised themselves into groups which you call forums.
“I know of instances in which mayors are visited when a tender is given. So what we need to deal with is the source (of the problem).
“The source is the policy choice we have made where we are taking away the capacity of a municipality and privatising it through what is called tender processes, that is the source,” Stofile said.
Salga KZN chairperson Thami Ntuli reiterated the need for policies to be developed by municipalities to fasttrack the provision of protection for councillors when their lives are in danger.
He noted that the assessments conducted by the SAPS to determine the need for security for public representatives took a long time and sometimes only concluded when a death had already occurred.