Big bucks for city bosses

2012-05-26 15:50

Municipal managers take home more than the president

Municipal managers in the country’s two largest cities are about to become the highest earning government employees and the first to break the R3 million ­barrier.

Tshwane city manager Jason Ngobeni and his Johannesburg counterpart, Trevor Fowler, will earn R3.25 million and R3.23 million a year respectively from July 1.

Ngobeni now gets R2.7 million a year and Fowler’s annual earnings stand at just R10 000 less than that.

The City of Tshwane became the largest in the country after incorporating the Metsweding district municipality a year ago.

Both metros have proposed substantial increases for the city managers in their 2012/13 budgets.

If approved, they will earn almost R1 million more than President Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe.

Zuma earns about R2.5 million a year and Motlanthe about R2.2 million. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is paid R2.23 million a year.

Fowler, who joined the city in October last year, will receive an annual increase of R540 914 while Ngobeni, who joined the City of Tshwane in September last year, will receive R550 000.

Both will get pay hikes in the region of 20%.

The two will earn 1 000 times more than the lowest paid municipal workers, who, according to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), get paid as ­little as R3 000 a month.

Nelson Mandela Bay acting municipal manager Themba Hani will get the highest increase, a hike of 68% or R973 648, to take his salary to R2.4 million from just over R1.4 million.

The City of Tshwane achieved an unqualified audit in the 2010/11 financial year, while Auditor-General Terence Nombembe slammed Johannesburg for poor revenue management and severe losses at the city’s entities, including refuse utility Pikitup.

This was Johannesburg’s second consecutive qualified audit.

Mangaung metro city manager Sibongile Mazibuko’s salary will increase by 22%, or R460 793, from about R2.1 million to nearly R2.6 million.

The Treasury has advised municipalities to budget for a 5% salary adjustment to be implemented from July 2012.

Talks about a new wage deal are under way between the SA Local Government Association on one side and Samwu and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union on the other.

Other city bosses will receive pay increases of between 4% and 6%.

These include:
» eThekwini municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole, whose salary has gone from R2.25 million to almost R2.4 million (an increase of about R132 289).

» Cape Town city manager Achmat Ebrahim, who goes from R1.96 million to about R2.1 million (an increase of R117 901).

» Ekurhuleni municipal manager Khaya Ngema goes from R2.2 million to more than R2.3 million (an increase of R103 743); and

»
Buffalo City municipal manager Andile Fani now earns R1.26 million but will soon take home R1.31 million (an increase of R52 340).

Earlier this year, City Press reported that Fani was appointed permanently, despite his questionable qualifications, after being acting municipal manager for some time.

Ebrahim was reappointed in October last year to head the City of Cape Town, one of the country’s best performing municipalities.

However, the municipality came under fire from Nombembe after failing to spend about R1.14 billion earmarked for houses and transport in 2010/11.

Samwu’s Tahir Sema said the union was concerned that municipal managers earn far in excess of high-ranking politicians.

“It is absurd that these managers get paid millions even though the municipalities they work for are plagued by corruption, nepotism, crises and the poor delivery of services,” Sema said.

Samwu is demanding an across the board increase of 15% or R2 000 – whichever is bigger – for all employees who fall under the SA Local Government Bargaining Council.

Other demands include:
» A minimum wage of R6 000 in the local government sector;

» The filling of all vacant posts on all council-approved organograms on a permanent basis; and

» A salary and wage collective agreement for each year, instead of multi-year deals.

Gabu Tugwana, City of Johannesburg spokesperson, said Fowler had a potential total package of R3 220 032.94 – R9 469 less than the budgeted amount of R3 231 000.

Tugwana said Fowler’s salary scale was independently verified in January by Swicon360 People, which conducts remuneration surveys.

Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Mangaung did not respond to requests for comment.

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