KZN depts to pay for izindunas’ salaries

2017-03-08 10:28
Finance MEC Belinda Scott tabled a R115?billion budget at the provincial legislature. The province will cut its spending to the bone.

Finance MEC Belinda Scott tabled a R115?billion budget at the provincial legislature. The province will cut its spending to the bone. (Sabelo Nsele)

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Provincial government departments’ budgets are to be cut to foot the salary bill for izinduna.

Thousands of izinduna, who still hold sway in some rural areas, have been pushing the provincial government to pay them since February 2014 when President Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation that said izinduna should be remunerated.

Delivering her budget speech at the provincial legislature on Tuesday, Finance MEC Belinda Scott revealed that attempts to get the national government to pay for this “unfunded mandate” had failed and provincial government will start paying izinduna.

The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) will pay half of the bill, while the other half will be “proportionately” cut from the other departments.

The salary bill will be R252,3 million in this financial year.

A team led by Premier Willies Mchunu is looking at the issue of back-pay from 2014.

Scott said the province did not have a proper definition of headmen and questions about the payment of izinduna were first raised when KZN took over Umzimkhulu from the Eastern Cape.

At that time, the Eastern Cape government was paying them about R76 000 a year.

Opposition parties have questioned why other departments also have to pay for izinduna.

“They are actually robbing Paul to please Peter because they are taking money from somewhere in order to make izinduna stable. You can see that without doing what they are doing, there would be instability in the province,” said IFP caucus leader Blessed Gwala.

DA caucus leader Francois Rodgers questioned why the provincial government was footing the bill when in fact the proclamation was signed by the national government “without any consultations with the provincial government”.

“We are greatly concerned about the cost implications on the provincial budget this impacts on. If you look at today’s budget, the major cuts are against education and health — over R200 million in education and over R100 million in health. And that, to us, is a huge problem,” he said.

NFP caucus leader Vikizitha Mlotshwa said he was not holding his breath. “I am not sure where they will find this money but we will have to wait for Cogta to deliver their own budget. They did not think it through properly when they took the decision back then; they were trying to get votes,” he said.

Head of KZN Treasury Simiso Magagula said the province was left with no choice but to start paying the izinduna. “At one point they had the premier almost locked up. Izinduna could not care less where the money came from, they just want their money,” he said.

Meanwhile, Scott stressed that the province continued to feel the pinch of the budget cuts.

The province will lose a total of R439,632 million, R488,993 million and R789,110 million over the 2017/18 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Contributing to the cuts in the province’s equitable share was the fact that the KZN population was decreasing.

Fiscal Resource Management senior manager Nelisiwe Shezi said the enrolment in KZN was also going down.

She said this was due to children from neighbouring provinces and countries coming to the province, whom the province cannot account for as they do not have correct documentation to be counted.

How the money was apportioned 

•Department of Education gets the biggest slice — R47,477 billion.

Department of Health — R39,5 billion.

Department of Transport
— R9,8 billion.

Department of Human Settlements — R3,8 billion.

Department of Social Development — R3 billion.

Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs — R2,7 billion.

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development — R2,1 billion.

Department of Public Works
— R1,5 billion.

Cogta — R1,5 billion.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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