South Africa. Limpopo Province. Soutpansberg. A dirt road near the Nwanendi National Park with a baobab tree on the side of the road. Feature text available.picture gallo images
The Elias Motsoaledi municipality in Groblersdal has come under criticism for voting to increase salaries of its senior officials.
The opposition DA said it would request the MEC for cooperative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs, Clifford Motsepe, to reverse the salary hikes approved by the ANC-dominated council on March 29.
DA councillor Rots Alberts, and councillors from other parties – Cope, Azapo and the Mpumalanga Party (MP) – walked out when the ANC councillors voted for the salary adjustments, saying the increases were exorbitant.
"These salary increases, of 38% and more, were not budgeted for. "This money will now probably be taken from funds allocated to vacancies still to be filled.
"This is not prudent financial management and will probably lead to yet another negative finding from the auditor-general," said Alberts. He has also complained to the public protector.
In terms of the new adjustments, the directors who were on R615600 a year will now get R850000. The municipal manager and the chief financial officer will now take home R950000 and R900000 respectively.
Municipal spokesperson Shakes Mokgatjetji said the adjustments were necessary as the municipality "has moved from Grade 2 to 3".
"All employees who were hired on contracts are affected, as they were still paid on the previous grade scale while others moved up," Mokganyetji said.
Meanwhile, DA provincial leader Desiree van der Walt has called on the cooperative governance department to increase the threshold for free basic service qualification in order to reach more households for free municipal services such as electricity and water.
"A municipality could set the threshold at R1300 per month per household. "This means every household which earns R1300 and less will qualify and everyone else above this threshold is disqualified," she said.