Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen has announced that some former municipal Councillors will be given over R200 million.
The minister announced this on Thursday during a media briefing saying that majority of the past councillors received their one-off gratuity.
Those entitled to the pay include those who were not re-elected in last year’s local government elections, saying all public office bearers receive payments like this.
“Since the local government election, we have seen new councillors coming into office to replace approximately 5 000 who did not return,” Van Rooyen explained in a media briefing ahead of his budget in Parliament which he tabled later on Thursday afternoon.
“To this effect, the majority of the qualifying non-returning councillors were thus far paid their once-off gratuity to an amount of R260 million.”
Des van Rooyen announced in a parliamentary question, last year that over R309 million had been set aside for the gratuity payments. The minister noted then that the Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers recommended that only councillors who had served for 24 months of uninterrupted service before last year’s local government elections qualified for the gratuity.
Asked how he justified his present payment to the former councillors, given the poverty in the country and the high number of municipalities who were struggling financially, Van Rooyen replied by saying that the municipal public office bearers were paid less than other public office bearers.
“All public office bearers receive this payment. This payment is agreed to by the payment commission,” said Van Rooyen who also added that there were ongoing discussions with the commission on how to deal with these payments.
“I hope that review will provide answers.”
The Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearer’s latest available information, gazetted on November 11 stated that mayors earn R1.24m a year, municipal speakers and deputy mayors R1m, mayco members, chairpersons of sub-councils and whips R940 680, and councillors R540 031.