Municipal managers’ salaries disgust union

South African Municipal Workers’ Union House in the heart of Joburg.


Samwu deputy general secretary Koena Ramotlou said they believed that the Department of Traditional Affairs and Co-operative Governance (Cogta) deliberately waited for the union to conclude their salary and wage negotiations with South African Local Government Association (Salga) before they could announce the ‘exponential and unjustifiable salary’ increases that municipal managers and senior managers stand to receive.

Ramotlou said, “When municipal workers demand living and decent wages, we are conveniently told that municipalities do not have money for such increases, yet when municipal managers get exponential increases, that argument does not work. Municipal workers demand to be treated fairly, after all they are the people who are responsible for the delivery of services.”

The union noted that the huge wage bill that the National Treasury recently complained about is as a result of these salaries given to senior management – ‘People who are clueless about service delivery’ – in municipalities. While addressing Samwu’s 11th National Congress, Cogta minister Pravin Gordhan promised to ensure that there would be a ceiling on the salaries received by municipal managers. With that said, Ramotlou remarked, “We are disturbed and disappointed that the minister has gone back on his word and is now allowing practices which will ultimately lead to the crippling of municipalities to happen under his watch. We urge the minister to stick to his words and ensure that municipalities are financially viable.”

The union also urged the minister to revisit the determining upper limits, which informs municipal managers’ salaries, as this has created huge disparities between workers.

“We are particularly concerned that the King Sabata Dalinyebo Municipality [in Mthatha] has, and continues to pay, its municipal manager and senior managers more than determined by Cogta. This is a clear sign that Cogta does not have clear monitoring mechanisms on these issues,” Ramotlou added.

He also said they had not forgotten about the Emfuleni Local Municipality municipal manager – one of the poorest municipalities in Gauteng – being one of the highest paid State employees in South Africa, with a salary of over R3.5 million, while workers in his municipality are struggling. Ramotlou emphasised that the huge salaries given to municipal managers and other senior managers cannot be justified by anyone, including Cogta.

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Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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