No pay for councillors: Workers’ salaries come first

2010-04-23 00:00

MSUNDUZI councillors may not get their salaries this month because of the municipality’s financial crisis.

The Witness understands that all ANC councillors were called to a meeting on Wednesday by KZN provincial ANC secretary Sihle Zikala, Co-operative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube and Finance MEC Ina Cronje and told that they may not get paid this month because there is no money.

Councillors were told that workers’ salaries will be prioritised over theirs and the ANC is not yet in a position to inform them when they can expect their salaries.

KZN provincial ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala was reluctant to confirm the information, saying he could not discuss what went on in the organisation’s meetings.

He did say that the circumstances facing Msunduzi are very serious and they cannot have a situation where there is maladministration in the municipality and people are sitting back.

“People in senior management are still quiet as if nothing happened,” he said.

When asked again if he could confirm or deny whether the meeting took place, Zikalala said: “We informed our structure about the financial struggle. If there’s a financial crisis, you can’t expect councillors to be a priority.”

Questioned about the matter, Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr said: “What you’ve heard is quite true. What we’re trying to do now is to recover outstanding debt, in which case if that happens people will be paid. But right now, we can’t tell you they will. We’re trying very hard to pay this month but the real problem will be next month.”

Asked whether DA and IFP councillors would also be affected, Tarr said that was not specified in the meeting, but low-paid workers would be paid first and the scale would move upward.

DA caucus leader Bill Lambert said he was not aware of the meeting so he could not comment.

IFP caucus leader Dolo Zondi said it would be wrong of the ANC not to call all councillors to inform them about something that would affect all of them. He said he assumes only ANC councillors will be affected.

“We cannot all be punished because of their failure,” he said.

Zondi he is sure that the ANC would have informed opposition parties if they were also affected because if they had not, court action would be instituted.

Dube’s spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said he would not be surprised if that was the decision taken by the ANC.

Cronje could not be reached for comment.

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