‘City hasn’t paid us’ - former councillors

2016-11-30 06:00

MSUNDUZI’s former councillors are facing the possibility of their worst Christmas ever.

They have not received their promised once-off gratuity payment that was supposed to cover three months’ salary while the councillors wait for their pension fund to pay out.

The councillors did not return to council after the local government elections in August.

Of the 37 ward councillors, who had served in the previous term in Msunduzi, 24 did not return.

The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said there are 5 222 councillors nationally who are eligible to receive the payment.

KZN Cogta said only 44% of councillors in the province were re-elected.

Cogta national spokesperson Legadima Leso said there were no delays in the payment of former councillors, but added that the process usually takes some time.

This is despite the department earlier saying that the payment will provide financial cover to the former councillors while they wait for their pension funds to be paid out.

“In 2011, it took more than 12 months. We are trying to make sure the councillors receive their money before the end of the year,” he said.

Former Ward 22 councillor Patrick Jaca said life had become difficult for former councillors, who served only one term and those who did not have an alternative income.

“It is painful. Their cars are being repossessed, some have been cut off from their medical aid.”

Jaca said Cogta should have been upfront with the former councillors and told them payment would be delayed.

“I feel like we are being undermined. They did not even tell us where to direct our queries regarding the gratuity payment,” he said.

Former Ward 8 councillor Bethwell Ngcobo said the last time he received any update about the gratuity payment was before the elections.

“It makes things difficult when you are promised money and given wrong timelines. You budget around that promised money, but it does not come,” he said.

Another former Msunduzi councillor, who asked not to be named, described the non-payment as “irresponsible”.

“This tells me there is no professionalism on the part of who-ever is responsible for this,” said the former councillor.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha and South African Local Government Association spokesperson Tahir Sema did not reply to queries sent to them.

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