KZN izinduna salary bill a nightmare

2017-08-23 13:45
MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said there are instances where one inkosi would have more than 100 izinduna.

MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said there are instances where one inkosi would have more than 100 izinduna. (File)

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The salary bill for izinduna is likely to spiral out of control.

The finance portfolio committee at the KZN Legislature heard on Tuesday that there were numerous unresolved disputes pertaining to the restoration of the amakhosi. Should these amakhosi be restored, they would be entitled to appoint their own izinduna, which would add to the burden being faced by the provincial Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs who must find the money to pay them.

According to the department, there were 29 pending cases.

The committee sitting at the legislature on Tuesday also heard that there were numerous landless amakhosi who were awaiting the results of land claims.

Should those amakhosi receive the land back, they would demarcate their areas and appoint izinduna.

An inkosi can appoint as many izinduna as they like as there is no ceiling set in the regulations, the committee heard.

MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said there are instances where one inkosi would have more than 100 izinduna.

The department already indicated on Tuesday that it was facing spending pressures as a result of the unfunded mandate of paying izinduna.

The department indicated it might be compelled to transfer some projects to other departments or cancel them as a result of spending pressures.

The province started paying izinduna salaries this year. Provincial government department budgets were cut to the bone to foot this bill after a standoff between provincial government and izinduna, which arose in 2014 when President Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation that said izinduna should be paid.

The salary bill is R252,3 million, of which half comes straight from Cogta’s budget and the other half is taken from other departments.

Dube-Ncube described the situation as a runaway fire.

She told the committee there was no financial certificate when the law was promulgated, saying the legislature should have taken the matter up back then.

Amid allegations that some amakhosi were appointing more izinduna or removing long-serving izinduna and replacing them with family members since the provincial government started paying izinduna, Dube-Ncube said the department had no control over the appointments.

“Unfortunately we cannot interfere with customs and culture. We cannot say because we are paying, inkosi cannot only have four izinduna instead of 150. There are cases where amakhosi have 150 izinduna, like the one in Mandlakazi (Ulundi).

“You still have amakhosi that still need to be restored. Those are not even in the register as we talk.

“We have landless amakhosi and disputes over boundaries. The system is unworkable, I am sorry to say that. Even amakhosi are complaining ‘why that chief has 178 izinduna whereas I only have four; my area is bigger than his’,” she said.

Committee members also raised issues about some izinduna who were full-time employees in government departments and the private sector who were staying in urban areas where they are working.

“Our hands are tied. We are not the appointing authority,” Dube-Ncube said.

She said the department was facing a headache on how it would account to the auditor-general.

“It is a recipe for disaster in our finances. It is unsustainable.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  cogta

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