Council pay-out ‘not that much’

2012-01-05 00:00

FORMER Msunduzi Municipality councillors did not believe they would benefit much from the once-off gratuity, worth three months’ salary, approved by the Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.

About 33 non-returning councillors in Msunduzi who would receive the once-off amount said the gratuity would not make much difference because councillors were not paid much to begin with.

Former councillors said there was no increment during their term and that the company in charge of their pension funds had defrauded them of the money they were supposed to receive at the end of their term.

Only councillors serving in the metros would benefit from the gratuity as they were paid more than councillors serving smaller municipalities, they said.

New councillors in Msunduzi welcomed a five percent increment, saying it was about time that their hard work was recognised after the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nomsa Dube, refused to grant increases last year amid the municipality’s financial doldrums.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Cogta spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said the decision by the MEC to increase councillors’ salaries in all 61 municipalities was based on the criteria of good governance, prudent financial management, financial viability and service deli­very.

“Even Msunduzi councillors will be getting the increment unlike last year when the MEC declined to give them the increase, because the municipality was not showing signs of good governance and was placed under administration.

Msunduzi was not the only municipality in the province where councillors had not received increases on their salaries, there were several others, said Mabaso.

He said Msunduzi had come out of administration under the leadership of the new councillors and that it also received an unqualified audit, which was the reason the MEC decided to increase their councillors’ salaries.

Mabaso said municipalities that did not qualify for an increase last year, like Msunduzi, would not receive any additional increment other than the five percent in line with the MEC’s recommendations that were based on the financial viability of the municipality.

He said it was on recommendation by the Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers to pay a once-off gratuity of three months’ pensionable salary for non-returning councillors after the May 2011 local government elections.

“This gratuity is payable for non-returning councillors who served the full previous five year term of office and that the funding to pay the gratuity comes from the national fiscus,” said Mabaso.

He said Cogta is collecting relevant details from respective municipalities to forward on to the national department. “The information obtained from the municipalities is being verified against the Independent Electoral Commission’s database,” he added.

MEC Dube said that the decision to give incentives to councillors after an assessment was aimed at sending a message that good performances would be rewarded.

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