Thursday, 09 April 2020
Pretoria: The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) has called on councillors and municipal officials to work with other spheres of government as well as stakeholders to ensure strict adherence to the regulations aimed at containing the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“It is only through these means that we can collectively defeat this pandemic and ensure the safety of our communities,” SALGA said in a statement on Thursday.
The association expressed concern at reports that some councillors were acting in direct contravention of the regulations issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act and the Code of Conduct of Councillors.
In the first of such reports, it is alleged that a councillor from Matatiele Local Municipality has been found to be unlawfully distributing travel permits to residents, enabling them to move around freely under the pretext of providing essential services in term of the regulations issued under the Disaster Management Act.
SALGA condemned the behaviour as unlawful and criminal. The association further called on the municipality to urgently initiate proceedings against the said councillor and any other councillors who are found to be in breach of the Code of Conduct for Councillors.
“Should a councillor be found to be in breach of the code of conduct, such a councillor may be removed from office by the MEC responsible for local government,” SALGA said.
In the second report, it is alleged that a councillor was arrested in Polokwane as part of a group of people who were playing loud music and consuming alcohol in a public area.
“SALGA is calling upon the law enforcement agencies to continue to enforce the regulations without fear or favour and similarly calling upon the Polokwane Local Municipality to urgently initiate proceedings against the said councillor for breach of the Code of Conduct for Councillors,” the association said.
The third report, is of a video circulating on social media about both derogatory remarks and statements contradicting the President, made by the Executive Mayor of Matjhabeng Local Municipality during a welcome address to members of the South African National Defence Force deployed in Welkom, Free State.
SALGA has welcomed the political action taken against the Executive Mayor. The association has further called on the municipality to urgently initiate proceedings for breach of the Code of Conduct of Councillors.
“We also encourage communities to partner with municipalities and report any councillors or municipal officials who are seen to be acting in a manner that violates the COVID-19 enforcement regulations, to the relevant authorities including Mayors and Speakers of our municipalities,” SALGA said.