Only EFF, ActionSA councillors in Joburg vote against proposed salary increases

'We can’t be wanting to increase our salaries while other people are still earning peanuts,' says EFF regional chair Sepetlele Raseruthe.


Despite all the challenges faced by Johannesburg residents, the majority of councillors in the Johannesburg council yesterday approved a motion to increase their salaries. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and ActionSA were the only two parties who voted against the motion during the extraordinary council sitting. It was, however, unclear how much the councillors wanted. ALSO READ: Ramaphosa approves 3% salary increase for ministers, MPs, judges “We can’t be wanting to increase our salaries while other people are still earning peanuts,” said EFF regional chair Sepetlele Raseruthe. “We must wait for them to adjust so that we can move together…

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Despite all the challenges faced by Johannesburg residents, the majority of councillors in the Johannesburg council yesterday approved a motion to increase their salaries.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and ActionSA were the only two parties who voted against the motion during the extraordinary council sitting. It was, however, unclear how much the councillors wanted.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa approves 3% salary increase for ministers, MPs, judges

“We can’t be wanting to increase our salaries while other people are still earning peanuts,” said EFF regional chair Sepetlele Raseruthe.

“We must wait for them to adjust so that we can move together and that is why we rejected the upper limits.”

‘Wrong way’

Other councillors have argued they were entitled to the salary increment. Raseruthe, however, argued that this was the wrong way to approach the increase and ways should be found to change it.

“Saying we are entitled, I don’t see it stopping us from rejecting the motion,” he said.

ALSO READ: Is Ramaphosa’s proposed salary hike justified amid economic struggles?

The EFF was also accused of almost collapsing the council after members did not enter chambers as they were still having breakfast. With 270 councillors and needing at least 137 for a quorum, council had to be delayed by at least 30 minutes. Raseruthe said he failed to understand why only EFF councillors were accused.

“Most of the councillors were not in council because (the food) was finished. The catering had to go for a refill and then councillors, not just EFF councillors, were waiting so they could have breakfast and come to work,” he said.

ActionSA caucus leader Nobuhle Mthembu said at the time when residents were suffering from above-inflation rate increases and service delivery failures, councillors should not be rewarded with salary increases.

“These kinds of increases would never have been entertained in the private sector with any entity mirroring the level of performance of the Joburg council and they should not be entertained in Joburg today,” she said.

City manager Floyd Brink said the relevant adjustments and budgeting took place.

“We can indicate that from our side through our council resolution that took place today, we are in a position to afford that adjustment.

ALSO READ: Fixing Tshwane’s finances means no salary increases for workers, councillors

“These particular adjustments are something that is an annual adjustment and it is compulsory for us to consider.

“This has got nothing to do with milking the state. It is really what they deserve and what they earned.”

Salary increase for what?

Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said the salary increase came across as if it did not matter how things were in the city, it didn’t matter about performance and it didn’t matter about the state of crisis Joburg was in, but only about the councillors’ pockets.

“If you live in Johannesburg and you hear your councillor is getting an increase, you ask yourself for what, when you do not have services and you are in a very desperate situation,” he said.

ALSO READ: ‘Tone deaf and embarrassing’: Cosatu rejects proposed salary increases for political leaders

“Everyone is going through financial challenges, given the state of the economy, let alone the worse state of inflation which makes it difficult to morally justify a salary increase.”

He said the EFF and ActionSA were taking a principled position on the issues and have realised the moral hazard of continuing as if nothing was happening.

– lungam@citizen.co.za

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