Former councillors demand pensions

2011-09-06 00:00

FORMER Msunduzi Municipality councillors are demanding payment of their pensions after waiting for over 12 weeks and threaten to mobilise other municipalities in the province.

Grievances over the delay in pension payments were voiced at a meeting held on Friday at a local pub and grill.

Former councillors nominated Sbongile Mkhize and Musawenkosi Mchunu, who were councillors for more than 10 years, to represent them in the matter.

“Former councillors at Msunduzi Municipality did not get their salary increment for the past three years because the municipality was undergoing financial constraints, so they were living from pay cheque to pay cheque,” said Mkhize.

She said the some former councillors have lost their cars because their only source of income is the money they were paid while they were councillors, while others are struggling to pay their bonds and provide for their families.

“We thought that we were safe when we were told we have to wait for six weeks from the day of submission of our applications to be paid our pension funds.

“However, it has gone to 12 weeks.”

She said former councillors who inquire about their pensions are pushed from pillar to post.

“Could this mean that the fund does not have money and they are afraid to tell us, or what?” Mkhize asked angrily.

Mchunu said there was a similar case when the fund ran out of cash as a result of mismanagement by the board members. “We are not happy because we are not getting enough support from the council on this matter,” he said.

Mchunu said that if the delays continue they will mobilise former councillors in other KZN municipalities to fight for what rightfully belongs to them.

“We are warning the new councillors to be careful of joining pension schemes that are not trustworthy,” he said.

This issue was a standing item in full council meetings before the May 18 local government elections. Last week the council resolved to meet board representatives of the Municipality Councillors’ Pension Fund for an update on the latest developments.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said, “The pension for councillors is administered by the Councillors’ Municipal Pension Fund and not by the municipality. This is the case for all the municipalities in the country.”

He said councillors were promised at a meeting in Durban held before the elections, where administrators of the fund were present, that pensions would be payable six weeks after the to councillors’ last day in office.

“To our knowledge, no municipality has been paid as yet. The matter rests with the fund,” Zuma said.

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