At least eight councillors in the eThekwini municipality are under 24-hour security protection for the next three months after receiving death threats.
This was confirmed by the eThekwini municipality speaker Thabani Nyawose, who, on Wednesday told News24 that the eight councillors, who cannot be named at this point as investigations into the threats were still under way, had all opened cases with their local police stations. The cases were being attended to by crime intelligence in the province.
"The procedure is that when you are receiving death threats, you report [to] your local police station, then you get a case number which you submit to the speaker's office [who] will then prepare a report to the SAPS in the province since it's them who are competent to investigate and make a threat assessment and come up with recommendations, advising the speaker on whether to provide security or not.
"This is where we are; all these eight councillors' reports have been sent to crime intelligence in the province; we are waiting for the recommendations," said Nyawose.
He added that despite crime intelligence not yet having given any recommendations, the council had taken it upon itself to provide security, at least for the meantime, for all eight.
"In the meantime, the municipality is providing security provisionally for a period of three months while we are awaiting for SAPS to conclude their investigation. So I can confirm that they are all now being protected," said Nyawose.
The speaker said the council was not yet aware of what the motive behind the threats were.
"We don't know what is the cause of such threats. Hence individual councillors who received threats have to report to the police, and the case is being investigated as per an individual case. Once these threat assessments are concluded, we will then get an understanding of what is the root cause of this problem."
On Saturday, African National Congress (ANC) eThekwini ward councillor, Minenhle Mkhize, was gunned down in a hail of bullets.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela told News24 that, according to family, "one individual came and shot him [Mkhize] six or seven times".
KwaZulu-Natal SAPS confirmed the incident, which took place in Cliffdale, near the Umthombomuhle Primary School, at about 19:30 on Saturday.
Nyawose said councillors were under siege as they were exposed to death threats, and this environment was not conducive for them to fulfil their duties to the fullest.
Nyawose said while eight councillors in the eThekwini municipality had approached his office to request security protection services, the now late Mkhize had never reported any death threats.
"As we have said in our address to the community, we have never received any request from him for protection because there was no threat directed to him in whatsoever any way; he was never threatened. I have only eight requests in my office from different councillors, from different political parties, but from Minenhle Mkhize, we have never received any request for protection," said Nyawose.
Nyawose's revelations come on the same day that Minister of Police Bheki Cele was scheduled to provide an update to the public on investigations into the mass killings that claimed the lives of 14 people who were gunned down in Inanda and Richmond.