Abaqulusi: MEC wants probe on salary hikes

2010-11-02 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube has appointed senior officials from her department to investigate whether the reported R5 million salary hikes for Abaqulusi Municipality senior managers are in line with employment and performance contracts of the managers in question.

Dube expressed her great concern “over the alarming salary increments that have reportedly been approved by the Abaqulusi Municipality for six senior managers there”, which were reportedly going to cost the rural municipality about R5 million.

She has accordingly tasked senior officials from her department to investigate if the hikes are in line with the employment and performance contracts of the managers in question.

“What is particularly alarming is the fact that in some instances the increases are at a whopping 23% equivalence,” Dube said.

The MEC noted that this Vryheid-based municipality is faced with huge service delivery backlogs as well as a series of public protests over a shortage of basic services and poor infrastructure.

“I am not in favour of exorbitant salaries in municipalities; instead I believe that more money should be directed to service delivery for our people. Should it be found that there is any breach of the law, the increments would have to be reversed retrospectively and those responsible would have to account.”

The development in Vryheid comes hot on the heels of the directive made by the MEC that there should be no salary increments or bonuses for both councillors and municipal officials in those local authorities with perpetual poor performance and service delivery backlogs. The MEC made this statement during her meeting with 17 municipalities who have had negative audit outcomes.

“It does not make sense to pay the leadership performance bonuses or salary increases when the municipality is actually not delivering on its mandate of providing services to communities. What are you paying the leadership for?” Dube asked.

She pointed out that with the local government election approaching, Cogta remains on high alert for any possible looting of municipal funds through cases such as undue salary increases.

“We are also monitoring cases where it would seem that councillors are now seeking to take up jobs as municipal officials in view of a possible loss of councillor posts. Where that happens, we will investigate if people have the right acumen for the official’s post they are appointed in. If not, such appointments would have to be rescinded.”

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