28 December 2017
SAMWU Shocked by Perks Being Extended to Mayors, Speakers and Councillors
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) has noted with disappointment the latest circular released by South African Local Government Association (SALGA) which informs municipal management of the new perks which Councilors, Speakers and Mayors would be getting as Gazetted by the minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Des Van Rooyen.
As per Gazette 41335 of December 2017 which will be backdated to 1 July 2017, Councilors will receive a R3400 cellphone allowance plus a further R300 data allowance per month. These allowances are shocking particularly given the fact that unlimited cellphone contracts which are inclusive of both data and unlimited calls cost way less than R2000. This therefore leaves one to conclude that these benefits are intended to increase Councilor’s salaries as one wonders who they call because they never return calls from community members.
Municipal workers are left to subsidize the employer by using their own cellphones when performing their duties. These are people who are responsible for ensuring that South Africans receive services yet they are not provided with proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) so they can safely perform their duties.
Municipal workers are also forced to work unpaid extended hours in their offices because they have not been provided with laptops, yet all Councilors will be receiving laptops and tablets for purposes only known to SALGA and COGTA.
The most shocking revelation of this gazette is that Mayors, Council Speakers and their deputies will automatically qualify to have bodyguards without any threat assessment being done. This is a blatant abuse of resources which could have otherwise be redirected towards service delivery and the better remuneration of municipal workers. This provision will also be open to abuse by Councils as it does not set the maximum number of bodyguards to be assigned, taking into consideration the experiences of Mogalakwena Local Municipality wherein 20 bodyguards were assigned to one individual.
Mayors will also be enjoying free accommodation at the expense of rate payers whereas Councillors will be receiving over R6500 in housing allowance. This despite the fact that SALGA does not want to budge on the demand of a R2000 housing allowance, offering a mere R700 which is only given to workers who can prove home ownership.
In addition to these luxurious and wasteful perks, councilors will now be offered a Special Risk Cover which is inclusive of comprehensive insurance for their homes, vehicles and life cover. Essentially this would be another subsidy extended to Councilors which would see rate payers paying these insurance premiums.
As though it was not enough, councilors would be paid a further R1024 per day for every sitting of District Municipal Councils in addition to their monthly salaries. This sitting allowance defies logic and further creates an impression that municipalities are like company boards where individuals get paid to attend board meeting. Councilors should not be paid sitting allowances because they were elected to sit in those meeting and they do get their monthly salaries.
We therefore view these perks as a waste of resources and therefore urge councils which have the interest of communities at heart not to implement them. In fact this Gazette should be rescinded by the very authority which gazetted it.
As we prepare for the second round of negotiations, we are will remind SALGA that these perks have been an indication to municipal workers that the time to plead poverty is over. By virtues of extending these benefits to councilors, municipal workers have made the conclusion that the money is indeed there to cater for the demands which they have put forward.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
(079 887 8389)
Deputy General Secretary
(082 899 2169)
National Media Officer
(073 710 0356)