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SA may need to review councillor system, Moerane Commission told

On Tuesday the South African Local Government Association made presentations in Mayville where it unpacked the impact of the murders on local government.

The Moerane Commission of Inquiry. Picture: Ziyanda Ngcobo/EWN

DURBAN - The Moerane Commission of Inquiry investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has heard that South Africa may have reached a point where it needs to review its councillor system.

On Tuesday the South African Local Government Association (Salga) made presentations in Mayville where it unpacked the impact of the murders on local government.

Representatives have recommended that political parties should move toward having stronger systems to ensure that quality councillors are elected to work in municipalities.

They've also suggested that the capacity and qualifications of prospective councillors be considered by political parties.

Salga's Bhekumzi Stofile says the killings in KZN and other parts of the country often stem from internal political squabbles.

“And as you select the candidate, in that process, unwittingly it creates some competition within and among those that see themselves as possible councillors.”

'SA DEMOCRACY COULD BE HIJACKED BY PEOPLE WITH MONEY'

The commission has also heard that South Africa's democracy has the potential to be hijacked by people with money.

Salga has described how internal political party squabbles have also contributed toward the violence in the province because of competition between candidates.

Salga has suggested that a minimum set of competency levels should become a pre-requisite for councillors.

The association's Lance Joel said: “We are saying as an organisation if we want to attract and retract appropriate skills we must have competition levels, but it’s not for us to determine that because is in the political arena.”

Councillor Bhekumzi Stofile says the internal processes of how political parties select candidates should also be reviewed to ensure quality councillors in municipalities.

“They are in the process of hijacking democracy because of money individuals possess, then rent a crowd for him to be seen as a preferred candidate, which goes back to impact to the democratic processes of organisations in which they identify councillors.”

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