Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
21 Mar 2021
6:53 am

Can municipalities afford a R4k salary increase?

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Municipal workers had yet to reap any rewards for the risks they took to deliver services during a pandemic over the past year.

Samwu members can be seen protesting outside Tshwane House demanding a backlog of payments be made, 24 July 2020, Pretoria. Picture for illustration: Jacques Nelles

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has moved to demand a R4,000 salary hike following its recent collective bargaining conference. But can municipalities, whose finances have been worsened by Covid-19 related events, including increased emergency expenditure, lockdown restrictions hurting local economies and plummeting  revenue, afford the increase? Professor Patrick Bond from the University of the Western Cape School of Government says the union's case for a raise following the harrowing economic conditions of 2020 was strong. "While of course there are bureaucratic slouches, political deployees and straight-out corrupt elements working in every municipality on earth, the vast majority of...