City to pay bonuses

2010-10-08 00:00

MUNICIPAL workers will have reason to celebrate come payday this month when they finally get to cash in their annual bonuses.

This was confirmed by Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler at yesterday’s sitting of the executive committee (Exco).

He told councillors: “The unions have not been complaining at all.”

Even better, the workers will receive a 8,4% pay increase this month along with their bonuses.

The Witness has also been informed that municipal employees can look forward to more good news in December when their backdated increases from July, August and September are deposited into their accounts.

Judging from a report written by Mettler, which was presented at yesterday’s Exco, Operation Pitbull — the exercise that Mettler launched to recover money from the theft of electricity — has gone a long way in replenishing the municipality’s depleted coffers.

While the municipality managed to gain just over R11 million from Operation Pitbull on September 1, the figure had more than doubled by September 28 when it netted in over R25 million.

The report indicates that the municipality’s cash balance has improved significantly over the past three months.

For instance, on August 11, the municipality’s bank balance was running on empty, reflecting a deficit of just over R125 million.

But a major improvement is on the cards by the end of this month as Mettler expects that the municipality will have moved from August’s deficit to a positive cash balance of almost R25 million.

Readers may recall the financial turbulance the municipality experienced during August when requests for a financial bail-out from the provincial government were turned down.

The situation looked bleak for a while, but Mettler said that although the situation has improved financially, it still has to find a way to manage the R250 million deficit in the budget.

A South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) shop steward, who did not want to be named, welcomed the news of the bonuses and increments.

“The only thing we want now is for the suspended managers to be dealt with … speedily,” he said.

Delayed in July when the municipality’s financial situation was still too fragile, the postponement of salary increases and bonuses was met with great resistance by workers.

At the time they blamed union shop-stewards for not representing them properly.

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