Violent protests have cost the country R61m since 2013, says Salga

Damage from violent protests over the past five years has cost the country R61m, says Salga.
Damage from violent protests over the past five years has cost the country R61m, says Salga.
Image: 123RF/Duncan Noakes

Violent protests in SA – mostly related to service delivery – have cost R61m over five consecutive financial years, says the SA Local Government Association (Salga).

Salga's national executive council convened a media briefing in Durban on Wednesday to report back on various issues affecting municipalities.

It said SA was experiencing a rise in political violence directed at local government, specifically councillors and municipal officials, noting that service-delivery protests accounted for R57m of the R61m lost.

“The threats and violence are often accompanied by damage to property, which undermines the institutional performance and functionality of municipalities.

“Salga remains concerned about the safety and security of councillors and municipal officials.”

Research undertaken by the organisation revealed that the total damage payout for all types of politically related incidents in the years 2013 to 2018 was R61m.

Of this amount, service-delivery related incidents were by far the most expensive at R57m.”

The research looked into the killings, harm and threats experienced by councillors and municipal officials while conducting their duties. It is meant to help Salga better understand its role in improving the safety and security of its members.

The findings revealed that there was no systematic tracking of these incidents and their associated costs, which in turn hindered informed and reliable decision-making on the matter.

Salga resolved to expand the association's mobile app to include an incident-tracking feature that will track in real time the threats and damage to property and killings of councillors and officials.

“The value of knowing the risk level is so that the municipality and other stakeholders can pay particular attention to those high-risk areas with high violence risk and try to identify whether there are potential triggers and whether anyone is in the process of mobilising.”

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