Anger at salary hikes

2017-11-08 13:45
Opposition slams decision to approve increases for City managers.

Opposition slams decision to approve increases for City managers. (File)

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A storm has erupted over the salary increases approved by council for the acting municipal manager and Msunduzi general managers.

This after they are already earning more than their counterparts in other similar municipalities.

The council has given its blessing for Sizwe Hadebe, the acting City manager, to apply to the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Des van Rooyen to increase his salary and those of the general managers by six percent.

According to confidential council documents seen by The Witness, the salaries will be backdated to July 1, 2016.

Opposition parties have criticised the move, saying the City managers were being rewarded for “underperforming”.

DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola said none of the general managers or the acting municipal manager deserved the salary hike, but said their hands were tied. “We cannot object to a regulation but in principle, they do not deserve it based on their performance. We are sitting with three managers facing disciplinary action.

“There have been so many power outages in the city. The CBD is so dirty and we do not have enough traffic officers. The billing system is in a shambles,” he said.

Majola said the corporate services department had failed to fast-track the filling of over 2 000 vacant posts in the municipality.

He said the acting municipal manager had also failed to finalise pending disciplinary cases since his arrival.

“Not a single one has been finalised and we do not know what is happening to some of them like the one involving Dr Ray Ngcobo [general manager for economic development] and there are still people who are suspended. They are sitting at home milking the system and getting salaries.”

Majola questioned whether the municipality could afford the increase.

IFP caucus leader Thinasonke Ntombela said many grants remained unspent across the business units, which indicated poor planning by the managers. “So what is the use of giving an increase to someone who is underperforming?”

The document said the managers could also be considered for performance bonuses for receiving a clean audit in 2015/16 “which all the Section 56 managers [the managers that report directly to the city manager] and the municipal manager contributed to”.

However, municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the managers will not receive any performance bonus. She said the preliminary performance assessment results had shown there was no general manager who had scored enough to receive a performance bonus in the 2015/16 financial year.

Mafumbatha said the municipal public accounts committee had also resolved that no performance bonus should be paid for that year.

The increment comes as a result of a SA Local Government Association (Salga) circular, which said the increase, capped at six percent, should be informed by affordability, macro-management policy, inflation, productivity and comparability.

The document said City managers were earning above the new 2016/17 salary upper limits (the maximum salary) gazetted by the Cogta minister. “However, it must be noted that from 2012/13 when incumbent [section 56] appointees were appointed, the Msunduzi Municipality was coming out of administration and as such salaries earned were very conservative.”

The document said the salaries were increased between 2013 and 2014 “in line with applicable salary and wage agreements” before the introduction of the upper salary limits.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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