ANC attempt to raise eThekwini city manager's salary by R700k blocked

2019-08-06 14:33
eThekwini Metro municipal manager Sipho Nzuza. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

eThekwini Metro municipal manager Sipho Nzuza. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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ANC councillors' attempt to raise the salary of eThekwini City Manager Sipho Nzuza by about R700 000 was thwarted by opposition councillors on Tuesday.

The opposition parties walked out of a council meeting, causing the meeting to collapse due to a lack of quorum.

DA eThekwini caucus leader Nicole Graham told to News24 that the opposition parties included the DA, EFF, IFP and ACDP "and there might have been independents or other smaller parties".

"It was done because we saw an opportunity to block the item that was before the council," said Graham. 

IOL reported that the parties walked out of an in-committee meeting of the full council on Wednesday, breaking the quorum and blocking a confidential report related to waivers of salary packages from the national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

The committee reportedly recommended that acting mayor Fawzia Peer be mandated to apply for waivers to the Cogta minister to place Nzuza at the maximum limit of the total remuneration package of R3.9m. Nzuza's current salary is R3.29m.

"The matter was raised in committee and the matter hasn't been finalised so the details of the pay increase are difficult for me to discuss because we are bound by confidentiality agreements," Graham continued.

"It was done because we saw an opportunity to block the item that was before the council. Obviously, the ANC have an outright majority but at the moment with the infighting relating to [Mayor] Zandile Gumede, they are not reaching [consensus]."

The ANC has 127 councillors in eThekwini, but only 85 were present on the day.

IFP councillor in the eThekwini municipality, Mdu Nkosi, corroborated Graham's explanation to News24 saying ''there was [an] in-committee item about this [salary increase]. We walked out as all opposition parties. Only the ANC was left behind. There were only about 82 [ANC members] and 2 independents.

No need for an increase

"We are told that they did continue with the item. However, they were also advised not to continue because they did not have a quorum because I think they knew that I told them that I'm going to court, they then decided to refer the matter back to council.

"As the IFP we are saying there is no need for the City Manager to get an increase because he is part of the alleged tender corruption [where Gumede is charged] because he's now a State witness. Two, there is no service delivery at all in eThekwini Municipality. All these protests that are happening left, right and centre show that there is no service delivery."

Nkosi added it was difficult for Nzuza to do his job while there was political instability within the ANC.

Graham added: "We don't believe that any senior management in this municipality should be given increases or bonuses. The state of the municipality is shocking, quite frankly. Basic services are facing serious issues, capital budgets have not been spent, the municipality is only looking at a 72% capital budget spend, so we are not convinced."

Attempts to get comment from eThekwini speaker William Mapena were unsuccessful.

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