Bosses defy salary cut

2009-09-07 00:00

NINE senior managers at uMngeni Municipality have defied their council’s order to slash their salaries. They continue to draw salaries ranging from R900 000 to R1,3 million a year.

At a full council sitting in July, a decision was taken that uMngeni municipal manager Dumisani Vilakazi’s salary be cut from R1,3 million to R850 000 per annum.

The salaries of his eight senior managers were also ordered cut by similar amounts.

Mayor Edward Dladla said at the time that the municipality was reverting to the old system where managers claim monthly for travelling allowances.

However, at a council meeting at the end of August, Democratic Alliance councillor Pam Passmoor said she was shocked to learn that the resolution has not been implemented.

“My curiosity was aroused when I saw that while away on special leave, the municipal manager had acquired a Range Rover in addition to his Jaguar. I surmised that his monthly income could not have been reduced by the vehicle allowance of R26 000 and decided to ask about the salary cut.”

Passmoor said she was equally taken aback by the response from the municipality’s chief financial officer, Bertus van der Merwe.

“He told the meeting that because a provincial task team was looking at the salaries of municipal management throughout the province, the status quo remains.

“The status quo means that uMngeni still has nine ‘millionaire managers’ who are receiving the same salary package as before, but with a seven percent increase from July 1. This is scandalous,” she said.

She added that not only is it shocking that Vilakazi has refused to implement a council resolution, but that although there have been two council meetings since July 1, the management never reported that the resolution is not being implemented.

Passmoor said it is time for Local Government MEC Nomsa Dube to step in to stop the “flagrant disregard for council resolutions”.

According to both the Municipal Systems Act and the Municipal Structures Act, council resolutions are binding. An e-mail was sent to uMngeni Mayor Edward Dladla last Tuesday asking whether the council has withdrawn its resolution on the salary cut, and if so, why? If not, what is council going to do about officials not implementing a council resolution? He did not respond by the time of going to press.

Vilakazi said in response that for the sake of clarity and accuracy it is important that he sets out the actual resolution of council: “that council take note of the explanation of the salary packages of all Section 57 employees and that all Section 57 employees will claim on a monthly basis for actual kilometres travelled at Automobile Association rates”.

The travel claims are in being reconciled. The process requires that there be compliance with the Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The progress and process will be formally reported to council, he said.

When the salaries were slashed in July, it was believed that pressure had come from the ANC’s regional and provincial councils. Following the April general election there was growing criticism of excessive salaries earned by senior officials, which contradicts the ANC’s pro poor stance.

A calculation of the current salary package shows that Vilakazi and his eight senior managers collectively earn just over R9 million. This amounts to 14% of the municipality’s total salary package for over 400 staff members






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