Johannesburg councillors will get salary increases. For instance, Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda will see his annual salary rise to R1.5 million, marking an increase of nearly R55,000 after the city council approved salary adjustments.
The decision, reached in a council session, was a rare display of unity among the government of local unity, a coalition of the ANC, EFF, PA, and the DA. The EFF and ActionSA were the dissenting voices in the vote, according to news24.
This decision came merely five days after a tragic fire claimed the lives of 77 residents in a city-owned hijacked building. It also follows the approval of an ambitious R80.9 billion budget for the 2023/24 fiscal year, featuring tariff hikes including a 2% property rate increase, 9.3% for water and sanitation each, a 14.97% electricity tariff increase, and a 7% refuse tariff increase.
ANC councillor Tefo Raphadu, in support of the salary increases, humorously remarked that councillors would appreciate receiving their salaries on the 15th of the month instead of month-end, alluding to rising fuel costs.
The EFF opposed the salary increases, citing their socialist principles and concern about the growing wealth disparity between the rich and poor. EFF councillor Lorraine Zitha emphasized their commitment to representing the most vulnerable citizens.
The salary adjustments, which reflect the upper limits of annual total remuneration packages for full-time councillors, are as follows:
- Executive Mayor: R1,501,351 (up from R1,446,388)
- Speaker: R1,212,520 (up from R1,168,131)
- Member of the Executive Committee, Mayoral Committee, or Whip: R1,142,175 (up from R1,100,361)
- Chairperson of Oversight Committee: R1,108,670 (up from R1,068,083)
After the vote, which saw the DA and ANC in agreement, Councillor Raphadu humorously suggested that councillors who opposed the salary increase should consider donating it to a cause.
Mayor Gwamanda addressed the council regarding the recent tragic fire, promising action against hijacked buildings. He revealed that the Group Forensics and Investigation Services (GFIS) was handling 188 cases related to hijacked or poorly maintained buildings, with 13 of them owned by the city and five by other levels of government.
Meanwhile, the National Treasury announced spending cutbacks in response to a bleaker growth outlook than expected in the 2023 budget. The Treasury called for reduced government spending and a sustainable fiscal framework. Johannesburg Finance MMC Dada Morero asserted that the municipality managed its budget independently and defended the increase as “quite small.”
Tuesday’s council session began late due to insufficient attendance, highlighting a quorum issue that delayed proceedings. The Johannesburg council requires 136 out of 270 councillors for a quorum, and it can only start once they meet this threshold. The delay cost the city R600,000 per day.
Picture: X / Theo76878340
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