Joburg city councillors want to give themselves ‘outrageous’ increases

A 6.4% pay hike in the midst of crisis – the city’s idea of belt-tightening.
While residents must contend with deteriorating infrastructure, tariff increases and lockdown-induced pay cuts and retrenchments, councillors wants bigger paypackets. Image: Bloomberg

Residents of Joburg are being asked to comment on the city’s latest budget proposals – and they probably should.

The city councillors propose awarding themselves a 6.4% pay increase this year, while multiple surveys show that most South Africans are bleeding as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The city’s electricity rates are budgeted to increase 8.1% this year, and water and sanitation by 8.6% each. Property rates are budgeted to increase 4.9% but could end up increasing 7% for some.

This might pass unnoticed in any other year, but not in the midst of an economic crisis. And certainly not when you have participative democracy campaigns being run by the likes of Dear South Africa and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).

First, some context: a survey by TransUnion shows eight out of 10 South Africans have suffered a drop in income, averaging R7 500 during the pandemic.

Startup incubator 22 on Sloane believes more than 55 000 SMEs in SA will not survive Covid-19, with at least 43 000 employees in those businesses set to lose their jobs. The African Management Institute (AMI) found that 87% of small businesses in Africa fear they may fail. Business For SA says up to four million jobs in SA could be lost.

Not a pretty picture.

Outa project manager Tim Tyrrell says the budget is an insult to the sacrifices made by city residents who have endured salary pay cuts, retrenchment, or the closure of once-vibrant businesses in the name of flattening the curve.

Yet the councillors propose lumping city residents with an additional R843 million bill for councillor and staff pay.

DearSA campaign head Rob Hutchinson says the budget proposals show extreme insensitivity for the pain being felt by all South Africans and Joburg city residents in particular. “This is especially true at a time when the city’s infrastructure has not been properly attended to for years.”

Skewed priorities

Particularly worrying for some is the increase in the base electricity charge, which could mean some households end up paying 40% more, and the scant relief for Covid-19, for which the city has made a R140 million provision.

Astonishingly, Covid-19 gets a single mention in the entire budget.

“The City of Joburg had at least three months to plan for the impact of Covid-19 since we first became aware of its severity, yet it seems to have treated it as an afterthought,” says Tyrrell.

He points out that for every R10 invested by the city in plant, property and equipment, an additional 8% is supposed to be set aside for repairs and maintenance. However, this has not happened since 2009, resulting in a repairs and maintenance underspend of R28.6 billion over the last 11 years. This explains the general deterioration of roads and other infrastructure over the last decade.

According to National Treasury recommendations, local government is supposed to ringfence an additional 80 cents for every R10 spent on repairs and maintenance, but this has generally been seen as a way to redirect budget funds elsewhere. As a result, Joburg is planning to spend just 59 cents for every R10 earmarked for repairs and maintenance in the year ahead.

Read: The big business of traffic fines

Comments from Joburg residents received by DearSA show their exasperation:

  • “Expect non-compliance. We are sick of lining government’s pockets.”
  • “Salary increases? Why? We are in a recession and will be for a while. We have less people paying bills and yet you want to increase salaries.”
  • “City of Joburg does not deserve increases if they cannot supply proper services constantly.”
  • “Weekly, my water gets cut for hours due to maintenance repairs.”
  • “There is something seriously wrong with any increases above inflation.”

What really seems to irk commentators is the extent of salary increases over the years.

Between 2016 and 2020, average salaries have gone up 56%, well above the inflation index. From the comments received so far, it’s clear that residents are outraged by the proposed salary increases amid claims that the city infrastructure and service delivery has deteriorated.

You have until Tuesday, June 23 to make your voices heard, which can be done via Outa here or DearSA here.

Listen to Nompu Siziba’s July 2019 interview with City of Joburg communications and stakeholder management director Kgamanyane Maphologela: 

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A clear and potent message should be sent to these councillors- their services are no longer required with their horrifying track record of not getting the job done.

We shall source and contract directly with those who have innovative, efficient and energy-friendly solutions to the pressing problems that are a direct result of these 11 years of overpaid incompetents.

Thanks for providing the links- now, Joburg ratepayers (of which I am one)…sign! sign! sign!

Please post the link to ‘Joburg ratepayers’ so every one can participate.

They should actually get zero increase, in recognition of the fact that, unlike private sector workers, their job security in the Covid-19 world is absolute.

Rob, this is what bugs me. These guys (in state affiliated organisations) has had their salary paid in full, so they haven’t experienced the wonder of deprivation at all. They have no sympathy or understanding, because they had a lovely paid holiday. If SA was just, fair and equatable (like the ANC is trying to arrange) then everybody should have suffered and not only SME’s and those in private enterprise who had to take a pay-cut or lost a job/business. Strange how the bad days are never shared, but when it comes to the good days, then equality (for some) must be achieved. With the ANC’s communist tendencies, this should not surprise, but it definitely irritates.

Their jobs are secured. Upgrade to the next level/ grade just because of years of being employed and not perfomance, guarantee salary increases, bonuses on their birthday month of double the salary.
Some people are really blessed with jobs for life!

I do not think that having counselors has worked in SA. It is just waste of money. I remember listen to radio this other time and people were complaining about a certain counselor and the lack of service delivery.
The counselor’s answer was “there is nothing I can do, I do not have power to change anything. I raise issues”. Surely ones job cannot be just to raise issues. No escalation platforms. They also are not the first to expose issues in big platforms like radio interviews and others because they still get paid and they still get all the benefits.

Salary increases? Are you mental? Many of them deserve to be fired and jailed for mismanagement and clear violations of policy. Forget even considering raises.

Personally I think that the councillors should get a 50% increase, providing that the entities employees shrink to world stands, a mere 70% cut in employees.

They should all be thrown in jail for Treason and Unpatriotic Crimes.
This is a middle finger to the working class, an out right slap in the face.

But hey vote again sheep…

Working in construction I believe there are two types of employees:
1 Income Generating
2 Expense Consuming
When it comes to government the same is true but 95% are Expense Consuming.
Imagine if your business had 95% of its employees in Admin related tasks, pushing buttons on a broken system what is the government’s actual output product..?
NOTHING.

Actually, this is not outrageous at all.

This is the type of socialism that permeates throughout South Africa and like minded administrations, approved and voted for with cheers by the masses every four years.

Those who redistribute other people’s money will not forget themselves

The Council does use KPIs as they should. If they did there would be zero issues in the city and we know that is not the case.

It is ridiculous to get any salary increases now. In fact the should get a 20% salary decrease.

We are working hard to get rid of our councillor. She is completely unresponsive. The law is changing so hopefully soon we can vote for independent people from the community. 99% of politicians are useless.

Besides being lunatic stuff to even think of increases at a time like this one of the results of increased rates and taxes is that it decreases property values over time. Besides , look at JHB and ask yourself if
the present crummy state of the city warrants even present salaries and present number of councillors . I think not.

Lets start with a 50% reduction, 56% in four years no wonder we have no service delivery its difficult to get anything done when you have to work this hard to spend your increase every year.

Anyone who has not had a performance review in the last six months, sorry for you bye bye YOU ARE FIRED as you obviously ADD ZERO VALUE.

99% of them are nothing more than arrogant oxygen thieves leaching off the taxpayer.

Time to defund the politicians.

Over in Mpumalanga the Municipal Manager of Steve Tshwete Local Municipality has given himself a 48% salary increase for the 2020-2021 financial year, that’s R800k per annum increase.

Disgrace!!
Lock them up and throw the keys away.
Since the anc is again in power, it’s looting time!!!!!!

They should get a 50% reduction taking into account their performance! Absolute disgrace.

When will municipalities be taken to court for their excessive increases? Always more than inflation!

They should ALL take a 80% wage cut for starters with immediate effect.
No increase in government wage increase for the next 2years.

Not surprised by this “greed exercise” …. after all, these are professional scam artists. They’ll try any trick to feed at the trough.

So much for “Solidarity,” Mr President

The agreed salaries and perks for elected officials should be part of the election election platform, and FIXED for the entire term of election.

It’s fundamentally wrong that elected officials can decide their own salaries without explicit permission (a vote!) from the electorate on this issue.

Not happy with the salary? You can resign at any time, or not stand for election in the first place.

Applies to MP’s as well. The whole lot of corruptibles !

Julle kry kans vir kommentaar. In Kaapstad is dit deurgestamp met slegs die ACDP as teenstem. Onthou Johnny Walker en papsakke is duurder

Correct, the DA in Cape Town will also give city councilors an increase.

Remember also that you are likely paying rates based on a property valuation higher than the market value.

What will happen is that the workers will demand double the amount the councillors gave themselves because who is doing the work? And we will sit with an extended strike while our streets are filled with garbage. Who can blame them?

Aye and I think eThekwini / Debbin is planning an across the board increase greater than 6% for all those it “employs”.

Will our comments matter? If so, then no they shouldn’t get an increase and budget cuts should be done. If our comments dont matter and we have no power to influence, then they can do as they want.

Welcome to the new better South Africa. Those in power take as much as they can, As quick as they can. To hell with the taxpayer and future generations. Take all before it is to late.

greed and selfish.they dont care for other people,only their pockets.

I sincerely hope every JHB resident will leave a comment and express their disgust at this proposal. This is flagrant abuse of power and completely outrageous under the circumstances. People are struggling to make ends meet and pay their bills. Businesses are closing left, right and centre and unemployment is through the roof. It simply beggars belief that these so-called public servants (joke of the year) feel they can justify adding to our burden with a completely undeserved increase at this time.

No increases for anyone employed by the municipality. In fact, a 40% reduction in salary would be in order. Any municipal employee who disagrees is free to resign and find work elsewhere where they can show their economic value to their new employer.

“A World-Class African City”.

A person cant believe that this bunch of arrogant individuals, regardless of parties, just care for themselves. You can ask them for assistance and the change is very good that they won’t respond; if they respond the change is very good that they will tell you why they cant or rather wont help you. I have yet to experience that they will take on a matter and deal with it to conclusion with an outcome that benefit and satisfy the community. They dont care as long as they take ratepayers money

I have no qualms should councilors get these increases, with the caveat that they are personally responsible for ensuring that all their citizens are fully paid up on rates; water and electricity then once they have achieved this they can then be held responsible for their wards upkeep and maintenance.
These councilors need to have measurable responsibilities and if they fall down on them they should be fired

Pre-94 the city and town councilors positions were honorary, they received no payment, yet the system worked much better than now.

The positions attracted candidates with much life experience as retired professionals and businessmen. These councilors put the interests of the community before that of the party.

Socialism on parade. What did you expect????????????

No rates at at all from any ratepayer until salaries are dropped by 15%!

How about refunding my utilities deposit that has been due since May 2016.
It seems that this money has since disappeared. Maybe a fraud/theft charge for what it is worth is required.
It is unbelievable, the contempt with which I was treated when attempting to have this money refunded. Jail time for some employees seems appropriate.

@kbtoo. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your refund was indeed due in May 2016, your entitlement to it has now prescribed. If the municipality has since then sent you any correspondence (statement perhaps) showing the amount due, you may still have a chance. Give them hell. Good luck.

What can practically be done to stop these parasites? I believe that tax proceeds be placed in trust until we see results from existing taxes.

End of comments.

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