THE opposition parties in the ANC-led uMngeni (Howick) Municipality are against salary of the Municipal Manager Dumisani Vilakazi being increased to R1,3 million.
The IFP and the DA in the council said that the poor standard of service delivery in the area does not warrant such a large increase for Vilakazi, whose role includes being at the helm of delivering services.
The council’s executive committee (Exco) members, the majority of whom are ANC councillors, voted to increase Vilakazi’s salary to R1,3 million. On top of this, the eight senior managers under Vilakazi will be paid a combined R7,8 million a year. Vilakazi’s latest increase comes against the backdrop of an alleged monthly salary of R80 000 in 2007.
The municipality was then called to the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature to explain the exorbitant increase.
The municipality has an annual budget of R220 million. Vilakazi’s salary package is just a few thousand rands lower than that of MECs who seek to deliver services throughout the province.
Weekend Witness has learnt that Vilakazi’s salary package would be more than that of the head of department for local government who is in charge of overseeing 61 municipalities in the province.
DA councillor Tim Lindsay-White said he believes that the inordinate salaries of local officials, like the municipal manager,simply rub salt into the wound, and the DA is particularly concerned as the party distrusts Vilakazi who is facing no less than eight criminal charges.
Lindsay-White said another cause for concern is the suppression of a forensic investigation commissioned by the former MEC for Local Government, Mike Mabuyakhulu, which the opposition party has called to be made public as per the MEC’s recommendations.
The DA’s Pam Passmoor said that residents do not get their money’s worth in paying the managers such “huge” salaries. She said the roads have potholes, grass is uncut and there are illegal signs erected that the municipality has failed to remove dispite numerous calls to do so.
The IFP’s Luke Mthembu echoed Passmoor’s statement on lack of service delivery, saying that his party was unhappy about the decision to increase Vilakazi’s salary. He said that with the recession hitting out hard in South Africa and the rest of the world, more jobs can be created for the poor using the money allocated to increase Vilakazi and the other managers’ salaries.
Vilakazi and uMngeni Mayor Edward Dladla were unable to be reached for comment at the time of going to print.
Total municipal budget: R220 million MUNICIPAL MANAGER’S SALARY: R1,3 million