BCM helps with funerals
To help ease the burden on Buffalo City Metro councillors and traditional leaders when their spouses or life partners die, council will pay R35,000 towards funeral costs.
The “contribution” has been effective from May 2018 after council recently amended its funeral policy for councillors and traditional leaders.
There are 100 councillors and 20 traditional leaders in the council and each qualify to get a R50,000 contribution towards their own funerals.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch, council speaker Alfred Mtsi said the spouses had to be included as it became a “burden” for surviving partners to bury them.
“Politicians always attract big crowds, their lives are not like ordinary people. When their spouses or life partners die, large numbers want to support and comfort the politicians and then it becomes a burden to the affected people to bury them. The cost becomes too much, it was in that spirit that the councillors felt that the policy, which was silent on spouses, should be amended,” said Mtsi.
Traditional leaders were included in the spouse and life partner clause despite not having voting powers in council and only earning a stipend of R5,000 per month.
The new amendment was initially discussed in 2017 at a workshop where councillors fought for their spouses to be “recognised”.
The councillors also wanted the metro to contribute towards the funerals of former councillors. However their recommendation was rejected by the metro’s legal department which said such a move would go against the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Mtsi said during the last council meeting: “During the workshop in 2017, it was discussed and agreed that a contribution of R35,000 be made in the event of the passing of the first spouse of a councillor or traditional leader. However, during the presentation of the policy in council, this contribution was erroneously cut and the policy was then adopted without an amount…When it came to the table that reflects the actual amount, all others were reflected but the spouses. This is trying to factor in that omission which happened erroneously.”
ANC ward councillor Crosby Kolela supported the R35,000 amount, however, cautioned against the life partner clause saying the life partners should be registered at the speaker’s office to avoid problems in the event of death.
“The problem we are going to encounter is the fact that today a life partner will die unregistered, next week another life partner will die, so there must be only one life partner.”
Mtsi said the amendment was effective from May 2018.
Asked why the traditional leaders were catered for in the clause despite not having voting powers in the council, Mtsi said: “They are servants of the public too and we see their value in council as they discuss matters and are part of activities in the communities.”..