Van Rooyen defends R260m payout to former councillors

2017-05-18 13:17
Des van Rooyen. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Des van Rooyen. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Cape Town - Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen has defended paying R260m to former councillors who were not re-elected in last year's local government elections, saying all public office bearers receive payments like this.

Addressing the media on Thursday morning before presenting his department's budget to the National Assembly, Van Rooyen said this happened not only to the public sector, but also to the private sector.

"Since the local government elections, we have seen new councillors coming into office to replace approximately 5 000 who did not return. To this effect, the majority of the qualifying non-returning councillors were thus far paid their once of gratuity, to an amount of almost R260m."

Asked how he justified this payment, given the poverty in the country and a number of municipalities who were struggling financially, Van Rooyen said municipal public office bearers were paid less than other public office bearers.

"All public office bearers receive this payment. This payment is agreed to by the remuneration commission."

Van Rooyen said there were ongoing discussions with the commission on how to deal with these payments.

"I hope that review will provide answers."

According to the commission's latest available information, gazetted on November 11, mayors earn R1.24m a year, municipal speakers and deputy mayors R1m, mayco members, chairpersons of sub-councils and whips R940 680, and councillors R540 031.

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