Izinduna demand answers to R1,2 bln back pay

2019-03-15 14:29
Izinduna marched to the office of Premier Willies Mchunu demanding their back pay on Thursday.

Izinduna marched to the office of Premier Willies Mchunu demanding their back pay on Thursday. (Nokuthula Ntuli)

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Hundreds of izinduna from across KwaZulu-Natal marched to Premier Willies Mchunu’s offices on Thursday, demanding answers on their back pay.

The state reportedly owes more than 3 000 izinduna an estimated R1,2 billion in back pay from 2013 to 2016.

However, in August a legal opinion compiled by Mchunu’s special adviser, Linda Zama, indicated that the KZN government was not obliged to pay up, as there was no contractual agreement between it and the izinduna when then president Jacob Zuma signed the remuneration proclamation in 2013.

Leader of Ubumbano Lwezinduna, Vusi Mthethwa, said they had been patient with government but they were now frustrated by the lack of communication about the back pay.

“Since November 2016 we’ve not received a straight answer about whether we are getting our money or not. There are media reports about legal opinions and commissions advising Mchunu on the subject, but no one is telling us anything.”

He said since 2016 they had been earning R8 000 a month and had not received any increments like other public office bearers. He said they never complained because they were under the impression that the provincial government was busy putting together their back pay packages.

“Now we read in the media that there is not even money to pay our remuneration and departmental budgets had to be slashed to pay us. We are now being blamed for delays in service delivery projects because some officials tell communities that there is no money because it was given to izinduna,” he said.

Mthethwa said they also wanted answers on the reports of the proposal that there should be a term of office of five years for izinduna.

He said they were not political deployees and were not elected into positions so they could not have a term of office.

“We also want the premier to investigate the allegations of people who are earning the salaries of being izinduna when they are not. We are hearing rumours of family and friends of those in power being on the izindunas’ payroll when they don’t do the work we do.”

Ubumbano Lwezinduna’s secretary Bhekizenzo Mthembu said izinduna worked day and night in service to their communities. He said there were the first people called when there was an emergency and ensured that there was calm even when people threatened to engage in service delivery protests.

Premier Mchunu was not at his office to receive the izinduna’s memorandum as he was on a two-week sick leave.

However, Dennis Luthuli, from the traditional leadership section in Mchunu’s office, said the izinduna’s leadership would be contacted about a meeting with him before their 14-day deadline.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  izinduna

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