A bunch of ward Councillors have had their homes torched and their families threatened due to lack of knowledge when it comes to Councillor roles.
Apparently, it’s not enough to conduct elections and present the winners to the people. In addition to that, the role of Councillors needs to be explained to communities.
As the country prepares for local elections, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) regrets to announce that communities do not understand what Councillors actually do.
Some Councillors on the other hand breed tensions by failing to report back to communities.
Recent developments show Councillors finding themselves having to deal with social situations that they were not equipped to deal with. This is according to Executive Manager in the Office of the CEO at SALGA, Seana Nkhahle.
“Some of them are requested to address very social and family related problems which they might not be well equipped to do. Some Councillors have been requested to come into family disputes, family problems and so on, if they are not well equipped it creates a problem but as a leader you have to do what you have to do and try the best you can,” says Nkhahle.
Proportional representation (PR) Councillors like Neo Mashele say they have been faced with a number of uncomfortable situations.
“The weirdest I think, without mentioning names, was an old lady having problems in her marriage…she thought that a Councillor is a counselor and she wanted me to sort out her marital problems as in her husband and her having intimate issues – she thought that’s what Councillors do.”
After several years as a PR Councillor (since 2011), Mashele insists that South Africans just do not understand how the local government works. This is why it is paramount to educate communities on Councillor roles ahead of August polls.