Municipal governance: CFO quits, returns for more money

2008-12-14 00:00

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and opposition parties in the ANC-led Mpofana Municipality have voiced their unhappiness over salary increases for the municipal manager and the chief financial officer (CFO) while the municipality is struggling financially.

The salary increase for municipal manager, Muzi Madlala, resulted from the rescinded resignation of the CFO, Sibusiso Sithole.

Sithole resigned from the municipality in November to take a post in the Land Affairs Department, but later withdrew the resignation after full council decided to increase his salary package.

Samwu and councillors from the IFP and DA believe Sithole’s resignation was meant to force the council to increase his salary and that of Madlala.

The Witness has learnt that this is the second time Sithole had resigned and rescinded his resignation in one year. In both resignations the municipality has spent thousands of rands advertising the post in provincial and national newspapers.

In his report to full council on December 2, Madlala said the council resolved to increase Sithole’s salary to the level of what he would have been paid at Land Affairs.

Sithole’s salary was increased by R140 000 to R540 000 a year. This put him ahead of the municipal manager’s salary package, and in keeping with law that the municipal manager’s salary should be more than that of the CFO, the council increased Madlala’s salary to R560 000.

Samwu shop steward Vusi Zaca said Sithole and Madlala have once again succeeded in having their salaries increased using “underhand” methods. Zaca said the council claims not to have money for service delivery, but is able to increase salaries by large amounts.

“When we bring concerns to the council regarding poor service delivery, we are told that the municipality operates on a deficit. Service delivery has been slow because we are told that money is not available. But the council allows people to purposely have their salaries increased,” said Zaca.

The DA and the IFP also objected, with the DA’s Theo Pratsch saying this is the third increase Sithole has requested.

The IFP’s Mthembeni Majola said the municipality is understaffed, but instead of creating more junior posts, the ANC increases the salaries of well-paid managers. Majola said the contracts of the CFO and the municipal manager are fixed and are supposed to be reviewed on renewal.

The municipal manager declined to comment and referred questions to the mayor, Mncedisi Mthethwa, who said Sithole is an asset to the municipality. He said the CFO rescued the council’s financial status, which was in a mess, and the municipality received a clean audit because of him.

“We will not let him go … Other municipalities pay their CFO the same salary. Why should we be any different? The decision to keep him was correct and he is an asset to this municipality,” said Mthethwa.

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