BCM fight over ward stipends

Buffalo City Metro council speaker Alfred Mtsi has been tasked by council to “explore” a funding model that will ensure better pay for the metro’s 500 ward committee members.

BCM speaker Alfred Mtsi Picture: FILE

Council had earlier discussed a possible doubling of ward committee members’ stipends from R1120 to R2500 to bring it in line with what the King Sabata Dalindyebo local municipality in Mthatha pays its ward committee members.

Councillors had accused the metro’s administration of dragging its feet in ensuring there were funds available for the proposed increases.

Currently the metro’s budget for ward committee members’ stipends stands at R6.7-million a year.

Approving the increase would take it to R15-million a year.

The Dispatch has previously reported that far bigger cities, such as the City of Cape Town, paid their ward committee members far less – only R500 a month.

Johannesburg, Ethekwini and other municipalities generally paid theirs R1000.

At a council meeting last week ANC councillor Sindiswa Gomba registered the ANC’s unhappiness about the delays to the proposal initially tabled before council in April.

“The ANC wants to register that when we take a decision … our officials don’t seem to be taking that seriously,” she said.

The ANC wanted the increase to be effective from July 1.

In the same council meeting Mtsi tabled a report which stated that the council should rescind its resolution of instructing his office to investigate the remuneration of ward committees as this was in conflict with section 77 of the Municipal Structures Act of 1998, which states that no remuneration is payable to the members of ward committees.

He said the resolution previously taken by the BCM council to investigate remuneration of ward secretaries was also “unlawful and should be rescinded”.

However, BCM mayor Xola Pakati said the ANC’s proposal was that the speaker’s office help council to determine a funding model in line with the legislation that governs the compensation of ward committees.

Mtsi said his office would further explore the matter in the context of the relevant legislation framework.

The Democratic Alliance’s councillor Terence Fritz said the party supported the call for Mtsi to further research the matter and come back to council with a funding model. — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

 

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