Cheryl Kahla
Audience and Content Strategist
4 minute read
3 Jun 2022
8:23 pm

Municipal salaries: City managers’ packages competing with that of president

Cheryl Kahla

Spoiler alert, some city managers earn up to R4.1 million per annum, when all their benefits are included.

Photo: iStock

Municipal managers at some of South Africa’s financially ailing municipalities are laughing all the way to the bank.

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma this week gazetted the determination of the upper limits of the salaries, allowances, wages and benefits for municipal councils. Though these increases only apply to councillors, municipal managers still out-earn these elected officials by far, before their own increases have even been approved.

This was done after Dlamini-Zuma consulted with the Executive Council responsible for local government in each province.

She explained the “salary and allowances of a councillor are determined by that municipal council, by resolution of a supporting vote of the majority of its members”.

Municipal salaries in SA

As per the gazette, a member of the executive committee or mayoral committee, a whip or a chairperson of a sub-council earns R1,100,361, while the chairperson of an oversight committee earns R1,068,083.

Personnel at grade five municipalities earn approximately 300K less (R1,078,407, R862,723, R808,804, and R785,080, respectively).

We can keep going down the list, but you get the idea. Consult the gazette below for the complete breakdown.

Additional benefits

Keep in mind: a municipal manager’s basic salary excludes travel allowance, housing allowance, pension fund contributions, medical aid contributions, and performance bonuses.

Councillors who use private vehicles can claim back if they keep a travel logbook for dates travelled, kilometres travelled, and the reason for the trip.

Their cell phone allowance is capped at R3,400 per month inclusive of mobile data.

How salaries are calculated

To determine municipal salaries and allowances, a point system based on a municipality’s income and the population under its jurisdiction is used.

As per the Gazette (included below), an income above R2 trillion equals 50 points. Municipal income between R0 and R10,000,000 equals 8.33 points, whereas R10,000,001 to R50,000,000 equates to 16.67 points.

If a municipality has an income between R50,000,001 and R200,000,000, it would get 25 points; between R200,000,001 and R1,500,000,000 would be 33.33 points, between R1,500,000,001 and R2,000,000,000 would be 41.67.

The second factor is population, and the points are awarded as follows:

Total populationPoints
0 to 50,0008.33 points
50,001 to 100,00016.67 points
100,001 to 250,00025 points
250,001 to 550,00033.33 points
550,001 to 1,800,00041.67 points
More than 1,800,00050 points

Finally, the municipality’s grade is brought into the equation. Utilising the same point system as the income and population factors, the grade allocation is as follows:

  • First grade: 0 to 16.66 points
  • Second grade: 16.67 to 33.33 points
  • Third grade: 33.34 to 50.00 points
  • Fourth grade: 50.01 to 66.67 points
  • Fifth grade: 66.68 to 83.35 points
  • Sixth grade: 83.36 points and above.

Based on this, an Executive Mayor or Mayor at a grade six municipality would earn a basic remuneration package of R1,446,338.

The speaker, deputy executive mayor, or deputy mayor would earn R1,168,131 a year.

For the sake of comparison, below is a breakdown of municipal manager salaries for 2019 and 2020.

Biggest earners in 2021

Ekurhuleni City Manager

Even though the basic salary for a municipal manager has increased from R1.1 million during 2019/2022 to R1.4 million during 2021/2022, there are always salary outliers.

Once all the benefits are added to the mix, municipal managers easily earn more than R4 million, such as Dr Imogen Mashazi.

Ekurhuleni is a category A grade 6 local authority, and Mashazi’s basic salary was R3,185,300 per annum, as per the municipality’s annual 2021 report.

Add to that R388,277 for pension, medical aid, and UIF, along with R194,528 as a car allowance, R364,631 as a performance bonus, and R55,200 ‘other’ payments, totalling R4,137,936 (page 80).

Tshwane City Manager

In 2016, Tshwane metro municipal manager Jason Ngobeni earned R3 million.

At the time, Ngobeni was the best paid civil servant in South Africa, earning more than former President Jacob Zuma (R2.8 million).

Ngobeni made headlines in 2018 when Tshwane had to clean up a botched deal in which Ngobeni approved a 99-year lease deal between the city and private company Tsoseletso Consortium.

READ MORE: Tshwane to fight another bad contract deal in court

Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor

Meanwhile, Mzwandile Masina, who served as Ekurhuleni’s Executive Mayor from 2016 to 2021 – had a basic salary of R1,242,409. With all the benefits added, Masina earned R1,445,060.

He also had use of a council-owned vehicle as well as full-time bodyguards.

ALSO READ: Rosemary Mangope’s golden handshake: Laptop, cellphone and salary until 65th birthday

  • Editor’s note: The original version of this article mistakenly said these municipal manager salaries were also increased in the mentioned government gazette. This was an error, and the packages for non-elected officials are yet to be approved.
    We apologise for this error.