Municipal councillors across the country are demanding that the state provide them with the same security as ministers, according to a report by The Sowetan.
Speaking at the South African Local Government Association’s (Salga) council of mayors in Cape Town, the councillors cited numerous instances where homes were torched or attacked during service delivery protests.
They also noted that most councillors, unlike ministers and MECs, still live in townships and that municipalities do not provide them with any security despite the added risks that they face.
“If a premier or an MEC is appointed today, he or she gets a driver and a bodyguard immediately,” Midvaal municipality mayor Bongani Baloyi told The Sowetan.
“But if you are appointed as an executive mayor you must wait for six months or a year for a security assessment from the police first.”
Salga spokesman Sivuyile Mbambato confirmed that the issue of security and safety for councillors has been elevated to the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs for urgent attention.
However, spokesperson for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Legadima Leso, said that the matter had not yet been brought to their attention.
The issue of security for councillors came to a head last month, after the North West’s Ditsobotla municipality mayor Daniel Buthelezi was held hostage in his office by community members who complained about poor service delivery.