The performance bonuses of the three senior managers were approved at seven percent each by council
THE SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) in the Northern Cape has expressed “shock and disgust” at performance bonuses that were awarded to three senior officials at Frances Baard District Municipality, while wage negotiations for annual increases for general workers have deadlocked.
Provincial Samwu organiser Kgagkamotso Mothebe said he was almost lost for words in regards to the bonuses.
“There is an endless supply of money for bonuses for well-paid officials, but no money for salaries of ordinary workers at the coal face of service delivery,” said Mothebe.
According to a council resolution, the Frances Baard municipal manager, Mamikie Bogatsu, the acting director of finance, Onneile Moseki, and the retired technical director of infrastructure services, Peet van der Walt, were last week awarded performance bonuses equal to seven percent of their salaries.
Francis Baard councillors indicated that the acting director of finance had been serving in an acting capacity for at least four years and questioned why a permanent chief financial officer (CFO) had not been appointed.
“An acting post should be filled after six months. We do not know if the performance bonus of the municipal manager was calculated on her salary that was adjusted in terms of the guidelines that were set out in the government gazette when she was permanently appointed. Council resolved that all three officials should be awarded bonuses of seven percent whereas it was initially proposed that two of the officials be given a 10 percent bonus.”
Bogatsu indicated that the annual performance bonuses were awarded based on evaluations.
“The performance of the municipality was audited and the municipal performance report submitted and adopted by council. The bonuses have been sufficiently budgeted for,” said Bogatsu.
She confirmed that the performance bonuses of the three senior managers were approved at seven percent each by council.
“All three were in the position for the year under performance review. The panels were constituted in line with the regulations and chaired by the executive mayor (in the case of the municipal manager) and the municipal manager in the case of the other two senior managers.”
She explained that the bonuses were awarded for the financial year 2016/17 that ended on June 30, 2017.
“Therefore the payment of the municipal manager’s performance bonus is according to the employment contract as of November 1, 2012 ended August 3, 2017.”
Bogatsu stated that the municipality was in the process of filling the vacancy for the chief financial officer and the director for infrastructure services.
“An offer was also made to a suitable candidate for the CFO position, who declined the offer because of the unsuitable salary for him. This led to a vacancy once more. The introduction of the upper limits is also making it difficult to attract suitable section 56 managers and there are currently some managers earning higher than them within the institution.”
She added that the MEC had approved a request to extend the contract of the acting CFO.
“Prior to that, the MEC seconded the then acting CFO to the municipality and it is the prerogative of the MEC to leave the seconded official in a position until the position is filled.”
Spokesperson for Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, stated that they were still waiting for the approval of the annual increases for municipal managers and directors at Sol Plaatje Municipality, which are implemented nationally.
“Negotiations are still ongoing with Samwu for the bargaining sector unit.”
Samwu national spokesperson, Papikie Mohale, said talks would resume on July 16 and they were hopeful that the employer would propose an “enticing offer”.
“The union is demanding an across the board 15 percent salary increase or R3 155, whichever is greater, for a single year agreement along with a R2 000 housing allowance and a R10 000 minimum wage for the sector. However, we are not rigid and are prepared to enter into further talks,” Mohale said.
He pointed out that 50 percent of salaries were spent on transport to work.
“Not only is the petrol price increasing every month but the cost of living is rising all the time.”
He indicated that the employer had reverted back to a 6.6 percent increase over the next three years.
“We want to avert the possibility of a nationwide strike. Negotiations have been dragging on for over six months and we are confident of a speedy conclusion.
“Municipalities cannot claim not to have money to pay increases when it is due to deliberate financial mismanagement, where they are incurring billions of rand in wasteful and fruitless expenditure. It is time that municipalities get their houses in order.”