Apart from the benefits added to their salary packages, more than 9,000 councillors received salary increases, according to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize’s notice in December Government Gazette.
The council convened, and the resolution was reached when the majority of councillors approved the increase and obtained permission from the MEC for local government. Mkhize said he consulted with MECs in each province.
According to the notice, members of the executive committee, chairpersons of sub-councils and whips will pocket R1,027,223, while speakers and deputy mayors will walk away with R1,090,488. Mayors in metro municipalities will get a whopping R1,350,250. Furthermore, Mayibongwe Maqhina from Political Bureau reported that:
“Councillors elected to a district municipality will be entitled to a sitting allowance amounting to R1020 regardless of the district council or committee meetings on a specific day.”
As for benefits, councillors who use their own transport will be reimbursed for the travels – those driving municipal-owned vehicles won’t receive this benefit. In addition, councillors will also be paid a phone allowance and a data allowance of R3,400 and R300 per month, respectively. They will receive a municipality-owned laptop or tablet, while councillors who are visually impaired will receive a Braille reader.
Councillors will also receive life and disability cover at the municipality’s expense and will be covered for damage to their property or assets as a result of riot, civil unrest or public disorder.
“The special risk insurance on residential property will be limited to R1.5m while on vehicles it is limited to R750 000. The life and disability insurance is limited to two times the total remuneration package of a counsellor.”
Two years ago, a mayor’s annual salary was R1,23m, while an MP earned R1,03m and a Deputy Minister walked way with R1,90m. At the time, Zuma earned 13 times more than an average formal sector employee, whose annual salary was R210,000.
Back in November, West Rand municipal workers allegedly took councillors hostage when their salaries weren’t paid on time. A council meeting was underway – with the municipal manager David Mokoena and mayor Boyce Maneli present when 140 employees barged in and demanded that the monies owed to them be paid.
At the time, the Municipality spokesperson claimed that investing R77 million in VBS Mutual Bank caused financial strain for the municipality and that municipal workers – those not so high up the chain of command, who earn pittance would have to wait up to two weeks for their money.