Umvoti officials increased salaries without consulting, report reveals

2015-02-04 00:00

OFFICIALS at the Umvoti Municipality (Greytown) have apparently given themselves a raise in the absence of clear council leadership.

This has been revealed in a confidential report tabled during the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) portfolio committee meeting in provincial legislature yesterday.

The Witness had the opportunity to read the document, labelled “Secret”, before being told it was only intended for members of the committee and Cogta officials.

Umvoti has been plagued by problems since 2013 when then mayor Philani Mavundla resigned. To date, it is still without a mayor and deputy mayor.

The report offered a little insight to the chaos in the municipality.

Political infighting and no clear political majority are cited as some of the reasons the municipality is still without proper leadership.

It said the municipality was facing crises with no political structure in place.

It suggested some senior officials could be placed on suspension after they increased their own salaries without council resolution.

Yesterday, Cogta was told in no uncertain terms to take strong action to rein in the chaos at Umvoti Municipality.

Committee member George Marie said the situation cannot be allowed to deteriorate further. “They raised their salaries without council resolution, which is illegal …” he said.

He said it would appear that councillors and officials are protecting one another, and therefore the councillors would not push for disciplinary steps to be taken against the officials.

A source in the municipality said: “I am not sure how much they increased their salaries by, but it was quite a bit …”

He said two officials involved had been suspended. Some senior managers did not deserve the increase, he said. “If you read the auditor-general’s report, you will see that some of them are not even qualified.”

The report revealed other chaotic activities that bordered on the comical. In one case the municipal manager had declared four councillor vacancies to the Independent Electoral Commission after four councillors had resigned.

He had to withdraw that declaration after he learned that the councillors had not resigned properly — instead of sending their resignation letters to the municipality, they sent them to the ANC regional office.

The councillors are still with the municipality.

Cogta head of department Nonhlanhla Qhobosheane said they had sent recommendations to the Umvoti council and would take disciplinary steps against the officials if the council refused.


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