Demoted ANC City executive committee (exco) members have to say goodbye to their fat pay cheques, as well as their hefty allowances and bodyguards. Councillors serving on Msunduzi’s exco earn up to R78 390 per month before deductions, while the total monthly package each for the former deputy mayor, Thobani Zuma, and speaker, Jabu Ngubo, was R83 616. Msunduzi’s outgoing first citizen cost the municipality more than R1 million annually as his monthly salary was just over R103 500. As full-time councillors, the exco members’ remuneration packages included a travel allowance — which was no less than R19 000 a month, a cellphone allowance of about R2 000 and a R300 data card for their laptops.“If they stay on as ordinary councillors they will take home just over R20 000 after deductions and that’s going to be difficult for some of them because they are now used to a certain lifestyle,” said a source at the City Hall. Some demoted councillors’ pay slips could fall to a quarter of their exco income levels.The other privileges that came with serving on the exco are the trips, some to countries abroad, that the councillors went on. Those who were chairpersons of portfolio committees went on work trips representing Msunduzi at conferences and doing onsite inspections of equipment and specialised vehicles that the City wanted to import.The City’s top three also had bodyguards they travelled with and had City-paid security guarding their homes day and night. The subject of bodyguards for councillors has been a contentious issue for the council since last year, when the KZN Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) issued a directive that councils should reduce their expenditure on private security for leaders. The department said the mayor, deputy mayor and speaker were to be limited to no more than two bodyguards each and that was only if the police declared their lives to be at risk. However, yesterday sources told The Witness that Njilo, Zuma and Ngubo had no fewer than four bodyguards each, who travelled with them, as well as guards stationed at their homes. DA exco member Sibongiseni Majola has been critical of what he described as “an army of bodyguards” kept on despite the council adopting a cost containment strategy when the municipality started spending its reserves because of poor revenue collection. Yesterday, he said council had not received a single SAPS report on the threat analysis on any of the councillors since they started their term in August 2016. He said police were supposed to make recommendations to council and those would still be subject to budget availability.“The municipality is accruing irregular expenditure by paying for those bodyguards because there is no council resolution to adopt SAPS recommendations. These guards also work a lot of overtime — which the municipality foots the bill for — because their principals attend political meetings after hours and during weekends.”Majola said some of the guards were seconded from the City’s security and traffic departments while the people of Msunduzi were left vulnerable to crime, especially in the evenings. “My question has always been, why do leaders need protection from the people that voted them into power, or is the municipality being drained by bodyguards as a direct consequence of the ANC’s factional fights?”He said it would be interesting to see whether the outgoing exco members would soon start paying for their private security from their own pockets now that they have been demoted.